House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and the committee Republicans sent a letter to committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) demanding more details on the multiple trips taken by committee staff to Mexico.
The letter — first reported on by Fox News on Monday — said that at least a couple of trips were taken by committee staffers across the border, with one necessitating a special escort to return stateside.
Jordan acknowledged that Cummings has “the authority” to instruct committee staff to go to other countries on official business, but noted that the chairman has not “explained” why the trips were authorized nor what information was intended to be learned during the ventures.
“Although you have the authority to direct Committee staff to travel internationally on official committee business, you have not explained why you authorized this travel into Mexico or what you sought to learn through these trips,” the House Oversight ranking member wrote.
He then accused the Democrats of trying “to delegitimize the administration’s border security efforts” and “vilify” border agents working to secure and protect the U.S.-Mexico border.
He also noted that other Republican members on the committee were concerned that the travel “could continue to result in misleading information about the administration’s border security efforts.”
Jordan also noted that an August 21 trip also included Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) — who took over former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) congressional seat after his failed senatorial bid against Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — who does not sit on the House Oversight Committee, prompting Republicans to question why she was included in the visit.
The House Oversight ranking member also asked the Democrats who they met with on the trip, what kind of “coaching” Escobar’s staff told migrants if there was any, and why the trip was undertaken in the first place.
A July report by the Washington Examiner alleged that Escobar’s staff was “coaching” illegal migrants on how to use a loophole in immigration law to come back to the country. Escobar denied the allegations, claiming the article was “fabricated” in a tweet.
Escobar has been a vocal supporter of progressive policies regarding illegal immigration.