The Department of Homeland Security barred Democratic staffers from the House Oversight Committee from visiting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities this week due to allegedly “rude” and “disruptive” behavior by the staffers during their last visit.
The DHS decision was a response to a visit by staff of Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) last week for “oversight inspections.”
They were set to again inspect CBP centers, along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities this week.
But the staffers’ plans were halted after DHS revoked their access, citing behavior that “interfered” with law-enforcement operations, such as refusing to leave a site upon the conclusion of their visitation window, skipping some tours, and being “rude” to officers.
Although the CBP visits have been canceled, a DHS official said the ICE visits will still take place — although a two-hour time limit will be enforced.
A senior DHS official told Fox News:
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. DHS communicated to the committee that due to their conduct, CBP could not support visits from the committee this week.
A Democratic source contradicted the statement, claiming instead that the staffers are being barred because DHS is concerned about what they are learning from illegal-alien detainees at the facilities.
But DHS fired back. Christine Ciccone, the Department’s Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs, wrote to Congressman Cummings that his staff’s visit could not be accommodated due to their violation of established guidelines.
“During discussions between Department and Committee staff, however, the Committee staff repeatedly stated that they do not intend to abide by DHS guidelines,” Ciccone’s letter read. “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.”
Ciccone added that the staffers’ attempts to “conduct interviews and take photographs” without limitations constituted a “a significant deviation” from DHS policy that “could jeopardize” its operations.
Members of the congressional staff had been briefed in a late-night call prior to their visit about respecting department guidelines. DHS officials urged them to “respect officers on the ground” so as not to “disrupt business.”
But the staffers reportedly went against the warnings. Per a CBP official, the committee’s chief counsel, who led the delegation, “refused to leave the facility after the hour-long tour” despite previously having agreed to a 45-minute tour at each location.
“I informed him that his actions on behalf of the Committee made a huge operational impact by not communicating back to CBP his true intent and expectations for this delegation,” the official said, explaining that the delegation’s prolonged visit to the Yuma, Arizona, facility resulted in the cancelation of tours that had been scheduled at other facilities. “This left agents in a position where they were waiting on staff to show and then they did not show at all.”
The same official added that two staffers from a portion of the delegation that began in the San Diego Sector missed the first part of the tour and “apparently ended up crossing the border due to following their GPS guidance and were unable to make it.”
Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member of the committee, affirmed that the Democratic staffers had crossed into Mexico “without consultation from the Department of State.”
Congressman Jordan also said the Democratic staff was “rude” and “dismissive” of CPB officers during the visit.
A Democratic aide refuted Congressman Jordan’s side of the story:
The real news here is that the Department of Homeland Security abruptly canceled future inspections and denied Committee investigators access to 11 CBP facilities as soon as Committee investigators began confirming with detainees some of the very same problems identified by the independent Inspector General. It appears that the Ranking Member [Jordan] would rather defend the Trump Administration than conduct meaningful independent oversight.
The Republican lawmaker wrote to Congressman Cummings, “Unfortunately, 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 confrontation between Democrats and DHS officials.
Last month, during a delegation of lawmakers to the border, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) reportedly screamed at and spoke threateningly to agents.
On Twitter, the democratic socialist said of the incident: “They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4”. They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.”
Image: Photos597 via iStock / Getty Images Plus
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.