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GOP-led Homeland Security Committee to hold hearing in Texas

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McALLEN, Texas (NewsNation) — Republican members of the House Committee on Homeland Security will travel to McAllen, Texas, Wednesday to hear directly from residents impacted by the border crisis.

This hearing is being held to examine if there is a link between President Joe Biden‘s and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas‘ border policies and an increase in undocumented migrants crossing the Southwest border, according to the committee.

The field hearing is set to begin at 9:15 a.m. CDT. This is the second border security-related congressional hearing to be held by House Republican leaders so far this year in the Rio Grande Valley.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw are among those scheduled to testify. 

According to a copy of witness testimony obtained by NewsNation, the committee is expected to hear requests for more CBP agents.

Sheriff Brad Coe of Kinney County, Texas, described the area as being under siege by illegal immigrants.

“My office has six full-time deputies and eight part-time to cover the 1,370 square miles of the county. This causes large areas of the county to go unpatrolled,” Coe wrote in his testimony.

Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) took aim at the decision-making by Biden and Mayokas on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert” Tuesday night.

“I think Americans are becoming more aware that the risk of what’s happened with the cartels and the drug trafficking in the U.S. Human trafficking is a risk to every American. And as more people make that realization, the pressure grows on Biden and his administration. We also have to realize that the current crisis is a result of Alejandro Mayorkas’ decisions and the president’s decisions. And I think Americans are waking up to that, too,” Green said.

The committee is also expected to hear about Title 42 and what things could look like at the border after it expires in just a few weeks.

Title 42 has allowed the U.S. to expel migrants at the border, citing a public health emergency.

Just last month, Biden announced a new rule barring migrants from applying for asylum if they traveled through other countries on their way to the border. His latest budget proposal included $25 billion for CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including money for 350 more border patrol agents.

None of the committee’s 15 Democrats will make the trip to Texas. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) accused committee Republicans of politicizing the event.

“After careful consideration, Committee Democrats have decided not to participate in the Republicans’ field hearing this week,” Thompson said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “Unfortunately, it has become clear that Republicans planned to politicize this event from the start, breaking with the committee’s proud history of bipartisanship. Instead of a fact-finding mission to develop better border security and immigration policies, Republicans are traveling to the border to attack the administration and try to score political points with their extreme rhetoric — despite having voted against the resources border personnel need.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, “House Democrats have the chance to see firsthand the disastrous impact of Biden’s open border policies. Instead, they’re bailing.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez stressed the importance of holding field hearings when it comes to addressing the crisis at the southern border. He said that there needs to be a bipartisan discussion in order to create any real, effective solutions.

“I think it’s very important to have these hearings at the border where the problem is,” Olivarez said. “I mean, it really shines light and exposes the reality of the situation at the border.”

He explained that it is now the second field hearing that doesn’t include both political parties, saying regardless of the political spectrum, both parties are needed in the discussion.

Olivarez said they want some solutions, especially since they are now two years into the current border situation.

NewsNation affiliate Border Report contributed to this report.

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