Reiterates request for Chief Patrol Agents to testify at a hearing before the committee on February 7, 2023
WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) slammed U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for refusing to allow Chief Patrol Agents of four U.S. Border Patrol sectors to testify at an upcoming hearing on the border crisis.
“On January 19, 2023, I invited the Chief Patrol Agents of four U.S. Border Patrol sectors to testify at a hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Accountability the week of February 6, 2023. As I wrote in those invitations, ‘[t]his hearing will examine the crisis on the southwest border and will enable Members of the Committee to obtain essential information based on [those Chief Patrol Agents’] experience leading Border Patrol operations’ in those four sectors. Yet, instead of working to facilitate the testimony of those law enforcement professionals, the Department of Homeland Security is refusing to permit the four invited Chief Patrol Agents to appear and provide live testimony at a Committee hearing. DHS is obstructing congressional oversight,” wrote Chairman Comer.
Chairman Comer announced a hearing for February 7, 2023 to investigate the Biden Administration’s policies that have ignited the worst border crisis in American history. He invited Chief Patrol Agents Jason Owens, Gregory Bovino, Gloria Chavez, and Patricia McGurk-Daniel to testify at the hearing about how U.S. Border Patrol agents are managing the crisis and the impact of the crisis on their mission to secure the border. In addition, Chairman Comer sought documents, communications, and information from Secretary Mayorkas about DHS’s role in undermining efforts to secure the southern border.
“DHS pays lip service to its own internal protocols in making this determination, and even argues that it is DHS’s prerogative—not Congress’s—to determine for congressional committees who would be an appropriate witness. DHS’s internal protocols are not binding on Congress, and it is irrelevant whether DHS disagrees with the Committee’s determination that these four law enforcement professionals should testify at a Committee hearing. Taken to its logical conclusion, the arguments advanced by DHS would render most federal officials in the Executive Branch completely immune from providing essential information to Congress. It is unfortunate that you are trying to prevent the American people from hearing candid and truthful testimony of U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agents. This is necessary oversight, which you and your Department are attempting to block,” continued Chairman Comer. “Therefore, I reiterate my request for the four U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agents to testify at a hearing before the full Committee to be held on February 7, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. EST, and request your confirmation of their appearance by Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST. If you continue to direct DHS to obstruct congressional oversight in this matter, I will be forced to consider the use of the compulsory process.”
Read the letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas here.