The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified Democrats on the House Oversight Committee that their staffers are banned from touring facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of a planned visit.
The staffers allegedly didn’t comply with the guidelines and were “rude” to the border officials during a previous visit.
A DHS official told Fox News that this comes in response to “the operational burden placed on the field by [staffers] refusal to comply with instruction” during a staff delegation visit last week.
After a visit last week turned sour with the DHS, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings’ (D-Md.) staffers are not allowed to visit U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities for their visit this week. However, they will be allowed two-hour limited visits to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities.
When last week’s visit went poorly, DHS Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs Christine Ciccone wrote a letter to Cummings that the staffers conducted bottomless interviews and took photographs, and that not complying with guidelines “could jeopardize” the DHS. She wrote:
“During discussions between Department and Committee staff, however, the Committee staff repeatedly stated that they do not intend to abide by DHS guidelines. In light of this, we are unable to accommodate your staff’s visit … unless we receive a firm commitment that the Committee and its staff will comply fully with all existing guidelines and policies.”
Additionally, a CBP official made not that the staffers “refused to leave the facility after the hour-long tour.”
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In response, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — a ranking member on the committee — wrote to Cummings, saying “[At] your apparent direction, Democrats refused to listen to law-enforcement instructions and made demands at the facilities ‘against the express written notice DHS had provided earlier.’”
This isn’t the first time a there has been a clash at the southern border facilities with those in Congress. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) caused an uproar when she claimed border officials were “threatening” her during her visit on July 1, among blasting them for other conditions.