The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow two chief Border Patrol agents to testify at a congressional hearing on the U.S. border crisis, after initially trying to “muzzle” them, according to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.).
In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Comer highlighted how DHS leadership sought to prevent the chief agents from testifying at the Feb. 7 hearing, but later reversed its stance after Comer threatened to use subpoenas.
The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, which Comer chairs, plans to hold the hearing to gather facts from U.S. Border Patrol witnesses. The hearing is titled “On the Front Lines of the Border Crisis: A Hearing with Chief Patrol Agents.”
Comer wrote that he invited the agents’ testimony on Jan. 19 and that DHS “initially sought to prevent Congress from hearing invaluable testimony from Chief Patrol Agents, believing that DHS’s internal protocols superseded Congressional oversight prerogatives.”
“I am pleased that the DHS is no longer taking such a position, and will make available as witnesses Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, Rio Grande Valley Sector, and Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin, Tucson Sector,” Comer wrote (pdf). “These two law enforcement professionals also serve as Lead Field Coordinators for the border regions that collectively include Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.”
In a statement, Comer described the Biden administration’s “radical open borders policies” as the cause of the “worst border crisis in American history.”
“Starting on day one in office, President [Joe] Biden and his administration rolled back deterrent-focused policies, halted the construction of the border wall, gutted interior enforcement, pushed amnesty for illegal immigrants—all of which have made it difficult for U.S. Border Patrol agents to secure the border,” he said in the statement.
“Next week, we will hear firsthand from the Border Patrol about this humanitarian and national security crisis,” he continued, adding the Republicans on the panel are committed to holding the Biden administration accountable.
Republicans Move to Impeach Mayorkas
Republicans have been critical of Mayorkas’s handling of the crisis at the southern U.S. border, with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), now the House speaker, last year repeatedly calling on him to resign, and declaring his intention to investigate and impeach Mayorkas.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Feb. 1 announced new articles of impeachment against Mayorkas that accuses him of violating his oath of office and failing to enforce U.S. immigration law.
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) introduced articles of impeachment against Mayorkas on Jan. 9 for “high crimes and misdemeanors” and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
According to the text of Fallon’s resolution, Mayorkas is accused of violating his constitutional oath by engaging in conduct that is “incompatible with his duties” as secretary of Homeland Security by not effectively maintaining operational control over the U.S. border under the “Secure the Fence Act of 2006” that requires the Homeland Security secretary to “maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.”
The second impeachment article alleges that Mayorkas “willfully provided perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to Congress” during testimony before Congress on April 26 and Nov. 15, 2022.
Mayorkas is accused of endangering national security by encouraging illegal immigration by terminating contracts for additional border wall construction, ending the Migrant Protection Protocols, and attempting to eliminate Title 42 authority.
In a recent interview with ABC News before Biden visited the U.S.–Mexico border, Mayorkas indicated that he doesn’t plan to step down from his position following Republicans’ vows to impeach him.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re going to do it,” Mayorkas said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We are dealing within a broken immigration system that Congress has failed to repair for decades. And there is unanimity with respect to that reality.”
DHS officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.