The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has banned Democratic Party lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee from visiting border facilities operated by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to a breaking story in Fox News.
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent representatives to several facilities last week for “oversight inspections,” and planned to do the same this week. But DHS did not take kindly to their last round of visits, saying that the lawmakers did not comport themselves well.
Fox News said that the lawmakers exhibited “behavior that ‘interfered’ with law enforcement operations — including refusing to leave one site after their scheduled window, skipping some tours and being ‘rude’ to officers.”
Some visits have occurred with a two hour time limit this week, but DHS said in an email to Fox that the rest have been cancelled.
“Due to the operational burden placed on the field by their refusal to comply with instruction during last week’s STAFFDEL [staff delegation visit], CBP pulled the trip in which more site visits were to take place at CBP and ICE facilities this week,” a senior DHS official reportedly told Fox News. “DHS communicated to the committee that due to their conduct, CBP could not support visits from the committee this week.”
House members, particularly Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), known for her anti-ICE rhetoric which was invoked by the man who attempted to blow up an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington, and by the man who shot up a nightclub in Dayton, Ohio killing nine, have been known to turn tours of such facilities into public relations spectacles.
AOC claimed that CBP was forcing detainees to drink out of toilets, sparking fierce backlash from the law enforcement agency.
As we reported, CBP fired back at AOC after her visit in July.
“Here’s a look at the inside of a #BorderPatrol processing center with Chief Patrol Agent of #TucsonSector Roy Villareal,” a caption read on the video posted Wednesday by the Arizona Border Patrol.
“We’re not forcing aliens to drink out of the toilet,” Villareal said.
The Washington Examiner said that AOC never even toured the inside of the facility. She refused after making a scene outside the facility.
“She comes out screaming at our agents, right at the beginning [of the tour] … Crying and screaming and yelling,” one witness told Washington Examiner. “The agents, they wanted to respond, but they held back because she’s a congressional delegate. But when you have someone yelling at you in a threatening manner …”
Apparently, that has been the theme among many of the Democrats visiting the facilities. Recognizing this, DHS Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs Christine Ciccone wrote to Cummings last week, notifying him that his delegates were no longer welcome, according to Fox.
“During discussions between Department and Committee staff, however, the Committee staff repeatedly stated that they do not intend to abide by DHS guidelines,” Ciccone said in the letter obtained by Fox News. “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.”
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