Congressmember or not, “you have to follow the rules” laid out by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said in response to the department barring Democratic staffers’ visit to border facilities.
“Whether you’re a member of Congress or not, if you go to the border, you have to follow the rules,” Kennedy said during Thursday’s interview on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
The DHS penned a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to make it clear that the committee’s Democratic staffers were barred from visiting U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities this week — although they are allowed a two-hour visit to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities at the southern border, according to Fox News.
The DHS’ response comes after a visit last week left impressions that the staffers were “rude” to law enforcement and “repeatedly stated that they do not intend to abide by DHS guidelines.”
“If somebody follows the rules and they are a member of Congress, they should be allowed to go,” Kennedy bluntly said. “But if they don’t, they shouldn’t.”
The Republican senator went on to claim that not all but many congressional Democrats believe in “open borders,” and if one disagrees with some of the Democrats then “you’re a racist.”
“I think vetting people who want to come into your country is not racist, it’s prudent,” Kennedy countered, later adding, “It’s open borders versus enforcing America’s immigration laws.”
Watch Kennedy’s interview below:
Ranking member on the committee Doug Collins (R-Ga.) also responded to the ban on Democratic staffers in a letter to Cummings. He then told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that staffers should be going to the border to “learn, to find out how we fix this problem, not demagog this problem.”
Collins added that if a congressional staff member or colleague goes to the southern border to “interrupt what is actually happening,” then “that’s over the line.”
“I don’t care who you are, Democrat or Republican, House member, Senate member, you gotta follow the rules,” Kennedy said. “And if you are going to go down there and not follow the rules, then at a minimum you should be told you can’t come.”