(FreedomWire.org) – Congressional Democrats of the Homeland Security Committee did not join a hearing that was held in McAllen, Texas on Wednesday where U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testified.
The Republican leadership of the committee sharply criticized the decision in statements released Monday.
“It’s deeply disappointing that the Minority members of the Committee have chosen to bail on this week’s full committee field hearing in Texas, only after they invited and confirmed a minority witness for one of the panels,” Committee chairman Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee told Fox News in a statement.
Green added, “the only message their absence sends is that they are uninterested in coming to the table to have a conversation about the devastation that this border crisis is having on Americans and their communities across the country. We will continue to encourage our Democrat colleagues to get out of the DC echo chamber and meet Americans where they are to discuss the biggest issues facing them.”
Ranking Democrat Member Bennie Thompson of Mississippi retorted with several demonstrably false claims. He complained, “it has become clear that Republicans planned to politicize this event from the start.”
During the hearing, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testified that his agency does not have “operational control” over the nation’s borders after months of a record surge in migration.
When Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) asked Ortiz during a congressional hearing if the Department of Homeland Security has “operational control of our entire border,” Ortiz replied, “No, sir.”
Mayorkas said during a hearing in April that “we do” have operational control over the entire U.S. border.
In both instances, Ortiz and Mayorkas were shown the U.S. government’s technical definition of “operational control,” which “means the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States.”
The diverging answers from the nation’s top border officials comes amid record migration across the southern border, with Customs and Border Protection reporting migrant encounters at rates not seen in 20 years, as reported by Pew Research Center.
Pressed by Green to answer for the border situation, Ortiz stood by the work of border agents and said they are facing significant challenges.
“I have confidence in the men and women that are executing the mission out there to the best of their ability,” Ortiz said. “We have seen an increase in flow, and that has caused a considerable strain on our resources.”