All 15 Democratic members of the House Homeland Security Committee are boycotting a Wednesday field hearing in South Texas intended to address the border crisis.
Committee chairman Mark Green (R., Tenn.) organized a hearing in the Rio Grande Valley to hear from top U.S. Border Patrol officials and other witnesses, the Washington Examiner reported. All minority party members decided to skip the hearing despite having chosen their own witness to attend the panel, claiming Republicans planned to "politicize" the event.
"After careful consideration, committee Democrats have decided not to participate in the Republicans' field hearing this week," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.) said in a statement to the Examiner. "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."
While the majority of Americans have classified the border crisis as an invasion, Democrats insist the crisis is not a problem worth addressing in person. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who is in charge of mitigating the border crisis, both made trips to Arizona in December and January, respectively, but chose not to visit the southern border. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee last month boycotted a field hearing in Arizona meant to address the fentanyl epidemic and humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
More than 5.5 million migrants have crossed the southern border since Biden took office. Many officials attribute the country's fentanyl epidemic to the crisis at the border. Authorities seized 12,500 pounds of fentanyl at the southern border from October 1, 2022, through January 31, 2023, Customs and Border Protection figures show.
"The only message [the Democrats'] 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," Green said. "We will continue to encourage our Democrat colleagues to get out of the D.C. echo chamber and meet Americans where they are to discuss the biggest issues facing them."