Lauren C. Moye, FISM News
Two U.S. Border Patrol chiefs are testifying before the House Oversight Committee Tuesday morning, despite the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) originally refusing to let any of the requested chiefs appear.
Oversight Committee Chairman Rep James Comer (R-Ky.) invited four different Border Patrol chiefs from different sectors along the southern border to testify this week: Jason Owens, Gregory Bovino, Gloria Chavez, and Acting Chief Patricia McGurk-Daniel.
However, DHS Secretary Alejandra Mayorkas blocked all four from testifying. This decision was later changed when Comer reportedly threatened to subpoena the chiefs instead.
“The Department of Homeland Security [DHS] initially sought to prevent Congress from hearing invaluable testimony from Chief Patrol Agents, believing that DHS’s internal protocols superseded Congressional oversight prerogatives,” Comer stated in a follow-up letter to Mayorkas on Jan. 31.
He continued, “I am pleased that the DHS is no longer taking such a position, and will make available as witnesses Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, Rio Grande Valley Sector, and Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin, Tucson Sector.”
Together, Chavez and Modlin oversee parts of the border along Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
The hearing will be the first time the public has an opportunity to hear directly from border patrol chiefs on the rampant illegal border crossings that have continued to surge under the Biden administration’s border policies.
Over 5 million people are known to have entered illegally into the U.S. from over 150 countries since President Joe Biden first took office. Of those, 3.3 million were either apprehended or known gotaways just in Fiscal year 2022 according to data revealed by Customs and Border Patrol.
The result has been skyrocketing costs for states and humanitarian resources stretched too thin. In recent months, New York City has called for an emergency grant to continue caring for illegal migrants located within the city. California Governor Gavin Newsom warned California was about to reach a breaking point under the current needs of migrants residing there.
Additionally, the Yuma Regional Medical Center has spent $22 million in the past six months providing ‘free’ care to illegal migrants according to Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
Illegal aliens have cost the Yuma Regional Medical Center at least $22 million in just 6 months.
Biden's border policies are unsustainable. https://t.co/B4OMEpCD30
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) February 7, 2023
Calling it the “worst border crisis in American history” in a statement released last week, Comer hopes to gain insight into the “humanitarian and national security crisis” by hearing directly from those on the frontlines.
“The Biden Administration’s radical open borders policies have ignited the worst border crisis in American history,” Comer said. “Starting on day one in office, President Biden and his administration rolled back deterrent-focused policies, halted the construction of the border wall, gutted interior enforcement, pushed amnesty for illegal immigrants — all of which have made it difficult for U.S. Border Patrol agents to secure the border.”
In addition to requesting testimony from the border patrol chiefs, Mayorkas also requested a lengthy list of documents and communications from DHS. This includes any counts of apprehended border crossers who were then released into the interior of the U.S. and any plans DHS has developed to regain operational control of the southern border by reducing human trafficking, drug trafficking, and reducing the number of “gotaways” who evade border patrol apprehension.