Report: DHS Will Not Allow Dem Staffers to Visit Border Facilities

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Posted: Aug 29, 2019 7:50 AM
Report: DHS Will Not Allow Dem Staffers to Visit Border Facilities

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The Department of Homeland Security will not allow Democratic staffers from the House Oversight Committee to tour border facilities after their “rude” and “disruptive” behavior during the last trip.

According to FoxNews.com, staff to Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) will not be able to perform their “oversight inspections” of CBP centers. 

“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 told Fox News. “DHS communicated to the committee that due to their conduct, CBP could not support visits from the committee this week.”

Cummings was informed by DHS Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs Christine Ciccone about his staff’s violations of guidelines last week.

“During discussions between Department and Committee staff, however, the Committee staff repeatedly stated that they do not intend to abide by DHS guidelines,” Ciccone wrote a letter to Cummings, reports FoxNews.com. “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 pointed out his staff’s attempts to “conduct interviews” and take an excessive amount of photographs, which could violate the agency’s legal obligations.  

[A]ccording to a CBP official, the committee's chief counsel, who led the delegation starting in Yuma, Ariz., "refused to leave the facility after the hour-long tour," despite previously agreeing 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, noting that because of this, part of the delegation only toured Yuma and had to cancel other facilities that were previously scheduled. "This left agents in a position where they were waiting on staff to show and then they did not show at all."

The official added that another part of the delegation began in the San Diego Sector. The official said that two staffers missed the first portion of the tour, and "apparently ended up crossing the border due to following their GPS guidance and were unable to make it."

Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in a letter to Cummings, also said Democratic staff crossed into Mexico “without consultation from the Department of State.” Jordan said the Democratic staff was “rude” and “dismissive” of law enforcement officials during the visit. (FoxNews.com)

This is not the first time Democrats have misbehaved during visits to border facilities. Last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) reportedly acted in a "threatening manner" toward federal law enforcement agents.