By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) Fed up with the “rude” and “disruptive” behavior of staffers for Democratic lawmakers, the Department of Homeland Security has barred them from visiting border facilities,Â Fox NewsÂ reports.
Specifically, the report said, DHS has banned staffers from the House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), from visiting Customs and Border Protection facilities along the southwest border with Mexico as they were planning a trip this week because the last time they visited they were “disruptive” and would not follow agents’ instructions.
Cummings sent staff last week to visit border facilities for â€œoversight inspectionsâ€ last week and planned to send them again to view ImmigrationÂ and Customs Enforcement (ICE)Â and CBP centers.
…[S]ources told Fox News thatÂ DHSÂ has revoked access to CBP facilities for the upcoming visit, citing staff behavior that â€œinterferedâ€ with law enforcement operationsÂ — including refusing to leave one site after their scheduled window, skipping some tours and being “rude” to officers. A DHS official said that ICE visits will still be allowedÂ this week, but with a two-hour time limit. One of those visits took place on Tuesday.
â€œDue to the operational burden placed on the field by their refusal to comply with instruction during last weekâ€™s STAFFDEL [staff delegation visit], CBP pulled the trip in which more site visits were to take place at CBP and ICE facilities this week,â€ a senior DHS official told Fox News in an email Wednesday.
â€œDHS communicated to the committee that due to their conduct, CBP could not support visits from the committee this week.â€
One Democratic source suggested to the network that DHS cancelled the visit because of what staffers were seeing in the facilities, but DHS rejected that noting that facilities are well-run, if crowded and busy, and migrants detained there are taken care of.
For instance, last week after a visit to one of the first facilities on the committee staff’s scheduled, DHS Assistance Secretary of Legislative Affairs Christine Ciccone wrote to Cummings to inform him that because of his staff’s violations of guidelines, their planned return trip would not be permitted.
It seems that Democratic staffers are more interested in creating scenes and politicizing their visits than actually learning about what’s really going on.
â€œDuring discussions between Department and Committee staff, however, the Committee staff repeatedly stated that they do not intend to abide by DHS guidelines,â€ Ciccone wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News.
â€œIn light of this, we are unable to accommodate your staffâ€™s visit â€¦ unless we receive a firm commitment that the Committee and its staff will comply fully with all existing guidelines and policies.â€Â (Related:Â U.S. Border Patrol chief to Congress: â€˜Humanitarian AND security crisisâ€™ exists along U.S. border (Video)
She noted further that the staffâ€™s attempts to â€œconduct interviews and take photographsâ€ without limitations are â€œa significant deviationâ€ from DHS policy and â€œcould jeopardizeâ€ the departmentâ€™s ability to meet legal obligations.
The evening before last week’s visit, DHS officials said they had a â€œlate-nightâ€ phone conversation with committee staff in which they were urged to â€œrespect officers on the groundâ€ and to not â€œdisrupt businessâ€ at facilities.
And yet, according to a CBP official, the committee’s chief counsel, who led the delegation which began Â in Yuma, Ariz., “refused to leave the facility after the hour-long tour,” despite agreeing to a 45-minute tour at each location.
In addition, Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a letter to Cummings that Democratic staff actually crossed into Mexico â€œwithout consultation from the Department of State.â€ He added the Democratic staff was â€œrudeâ€ and â€œdismissiveâ€ of law enforcement officials during the visit.
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