Kentucky Rep. James Comer, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent four letters to Biden administration officials requesting information on illegal immigration levels and fentanyl imports.
Federal law enforcement officials encountered more than 2.7 million migrants in Fiscal Year 2022, according to statistics compiled by Customs and Border Protection. They also seized 719 pounds of fentanyl, enough to kill more than 163 million Americans. More than 71,000 Americans died of fentanyl overdoses in 2o21, out of a record-high 105,000 total overdose deaths. (RELATED: Parents Of Fentanyl Victims Urge Whole-Of-Government Response To ‘Red, White, And Blue Crisis’)
Comer is calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy to release information detailing their budget choices and how they have been impacted by increased illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Republicans have questioned top officials about the Biden administration’s border enforcement policies and are considering impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“President Biden’s radical open borders agenda has ignited the worst border crisis in American history. This administration’s reckless policies 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. Not only has the Biden Administration failed to secure the border, but it is also diverting critical taxpayer dollars intended for public health to pay for its self-inflicted crisis,” Comer said in a statement.
“Oversight Republicans will be relentless in our pursuit to hold Biden Administration officials accountable for this ongoing humanitarian, national security, and public health crisis. The Biden Administration must cooperate with congressional oversight in order to provide the American people with transparency and accountability,” he added.
After taking back the House, Republicans will hold subpoena power. The outgoing Democratic majority generally refused to compel Biden administration officials to testify on issues like the border. In many cases, federal agencies simply ignored GOP document requests.
“DHS’s responses to these requests—which sought documents and communications—frequently, if at all, came in the form of short correspondence summarizing the Administration’s actions or perspective on a particular issue. On the rare occasion when documents were provided, they were frequently publicly available, entirely unresponsive, or underinclusive,” Comer wrote to Mayorkas.
Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden began rolling back Trump-era border policies, most notably the Migrant Protection Protocols. Also known as the Remain in Mexico policy, MPP required migrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum cases were being adjudicated. Federal courts ordered the Biden administration to reinstate MPP in 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also attempted to end Title 42, which allowed the Biden administration to deport migrants in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the move was blocked after several red states filed lawsuits.
Foreign leaders have concurred with Republicans that Biden’s policies have led to increased migration levels.
“We have recently seen a very serious increase in the number of migrants seeking to cross our border,” Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “When Title 42 was eliminated, we see an even greater increase in the crossings through Guatemala, illegal crossings through Guatemala to reach the United States illegally as well.”