The House Judiciary Committee is set to begin the first of several investigations into the Biden administration on Wednesday — starting with the situation at the southern border.
"Biden's Border Crisis — Part One" will look at security at the border, national security, and how the highly potent — and potentially deadly — synthetic opioid fentanyl "has impacted American lives," the committee announced.
Witnesses will include officials from law enforcement and the judiciary, along with experts on border issues.
"The Biden Administration's deliberate actions are fueling human smuggling, stimulating drug cartel operations, enabling deadly drugs such as fentanyl to flow into American communities, and encouraging illegal immigrants to flout U.S. immigration laws," Judiciary Committee chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said Jan. 19.
"Republicans will hold the Biden administration accountable for this ongoing humanitarian, national security, and public health crisis that has turned every town into a border town."
Republicans have long aimed to investigate the Biden administration's handling of the wave of migrant border crossings — particularly as the White House pushes for an end to the Trump-era Title 42 immigration policy enforced during the pandemic.
The policy — giving border agents permission to expel migrants immediately to curb the spread of COVID-19 — was due to expire in late December but was extended by the Supreme Court after an emergency plea from 19 Republican-led states urging the court to keep the policy in place.
During fiscal year 2022, Border Patrol agents had a record-breaking 2.3 million encounters with illegal immigrants, according to the Washington Examiner.
Shortly after winning the House majority in November, Republicans began demanding Homeland Security officials preserve documents involving the border, with some GOP lawmakers considering impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
House Republicans are preparing to hold another hearing on the border in early February, requesting the testimony of four Border Patrol chief patrol agents, the Washington Examiner reported — despite Mayorkas blocking requests for agents to testify.
"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," a defiant Comer said Jan. 27.
"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."
If the agents do testify, it was expected to include details about their experiences working through the pandemic amid the country's highest rates of illegal immigration, according to the Washington Examiner, noting it's not clear who would testify in their place.
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