The Department of Homeland Security has agreed that two Chief Border Patrol Agents can testify before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee despite DHS Secretary Alejandros Mayorkas’s initial resistance.
Chief Patrol Agents Gloria Chavez of the Rio Grande Valley Sector and John Modlin of the Tuscon Sector will both testify. In addition to Chavez, the House Committee had initially called Chief Patrol Agents Jason Owens, Gregory Bovino, and Patricia McGurk-Daniel.
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee announced in January that it would hold hearings to evaluate the state of the nation’s southern border, citing increased illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and humanitarian violations.
The Department of Homeland Security refused to allow the four agents to testify before the committee. Kentucky Congressman James Comer, the Committee’s chairman, accused the agency of “obstructing congressional oversight.”
Comer threatened to subpoena the officers in a letter to Mayorkas, calling the agents’ testimonies “invaluable.” The committee is set to hear about the crisis at the United States-Mexico border on Feb. 7.
“It is unfortunate that you are trying to prevent the American people from hearing candid and truthful testimony of U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agents. This is necessary oversight, which you and your Department are attempting to block,” Comer wrote in the Jan. 27 letter. “If you continue to direct DHS to obstruct congressional oversight in this matter, I will be forced to consider the use of the compulsory process.”
According to The Washington Times, “the Homeland Security secretary has regularly clashed with agents, who say his policies have made their jobs impossible, pulled them off the front lines and consigned them to processing and released migrants while leaving the country’s borders open to record levels of illegal activity.”
Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs said the House Oversight Committee will be “bringing the Chief Patrol Agents to better learn how Mayorkas has left them behind” in a tweet on Feb. 6. Biggs and Texas Congressman Pat Fallon are currently leading an effort to impeach Mayorkas for dereliction of duties.
Comer said testimony from agents who lead efforts to secure the border is a vital part of the Committee’s investigation into the Biden Administration’s policies.
“President Biden’s radical open borders agenda has ignited the worst border crisis in American history,” Comer said on Jan. 19. “The Biden Administration’s deliberate actions 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.”
“Republicans will hold the Biden Administration accountable for this ongoing humanitarian, national security, and public health crisis that has turned every town into a border town,” he said.