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Why Congressional Hearings at the Border Are Necessary

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Congressional hearings serve many purposes. They are designed to allow members of Congress to question people under oath, sometimes under a subpoena, to gather facts about an issue or sets of issues.

Yes, oftentimes, it allows members to grandstand or try to make news cycles with soundbites, but that's the nature of the beast. As someone who has been covering the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border for more than two years now, it is refreshing to have House members host hearings at the southern border to hear directly from the people who are first impacted by the crisis.

The sad fact is, because the border crisis has been an everyday problem since Joe Biden became president, its newsworthiness has gone down significantly. It has had to take thousands of illegal immigrants crossing over into the United States at a single time in one place to garner nationwide news coverage. Outside of that, hundreds of people crossing daily at different points along the border no longer warrant the attention it deserves.

Putting the hearings at the border not only allow members of Congress to get out of the D.C. bubble, at least Republicans, but it also forces the beltway media to consider leaving Capitol Hill. If they don't go with members of Congress, it puts a spotlight on them and why they don't want to cover an event highlighting a major issue in the country.

But more than that, one of the biggest reasons why field hearings at the border are important is because it gives locals reassurance they are not forgotten. Time and again, I have heard from border ranchers and residents who say they feel abandoned by the federal government – and they're not wrong from an executive branch perspective. Evidence of how important hearings are to them was shown when the Yuma City Council's chamber reached full capacity for the public to attend. 

"This quite a special occasion to have all these Judiciary Committee people come out to Yuma and talk to us about this," Yuma local April told me after Thursday's hearing. 

"It really makes a big difference. I wouldn't have missed it for anything...We wanted to see it," resident Helen Franklin added, noting she was one of the first to get a seat in the chamber.

Of course, once members of Congress have the testimony they need to move forward with legislation or impeachment, they can't waste the opportunity. The border crisis is a problem that will have devastating effects for years to come, even if it were to be secured starting today. Will the border crisis be fixed because of one hearing? No, but it builds the case that it's an issue and that Democrats ignoring it will no longer be tolerated. From a journalist's perspective, at a minimum, the hearings provide a historical record for future generations to explain how they got to where they are. 

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