Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Mark Green slammed Democrats Wednesday for not appearing at a southern border field hearing.
Green labeled the Democrats who chose not to attend the hearing as “AWOL.” The hearing is taking place in McAllen, Texas, a southern border town that’s experienced the surge in illegal immigration in recent years. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Red Cross Packets Show Migrants Where To Cross The US Border)
“In the Army, when someone didn’t show up, we called them AWOL, or absent without leave. Their place of duty is at this hearing because it’s a full hearing and they’re not here, they’re AWOL,” Green said.
The committee’s Democratic ranking member, Bennie Thompson, said Monday that the Democrats pulled out from participating in the looming hearing, according to Fox News.
“After careful consideration, Committee Democrats have decided not to participate in the Republicans’ field hearing this week. Unfortunately, it has become clear that Republicans planned to politicize this event from the start, breaking with the Committee’s proud history of bipartisanship,” Thompson said.
“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. Committee Democrats are in regular contact with Department leadership and stakeholders on the ground and will be taking substantive site visits to the border – including as soon as this week,” he added.
— Jennie Taer (@JennieSTaer) March 15, 2023
In fiscal year 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered more than 2.3 million migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. The agency also encountered more than 870,000 migrants between October 2021 and January 2023.
Green believes the Democrats’ absences means they’re not serious about addressing the influx.
“This was supposed to be a full committee, but, as you can see, the Democrats are not here. They decided not to show. Why? Well they said coming here was just a political stunt. You tell me, taking a hearing to the point of the crisis for a firsthand view are [sic] boycotting a hearing because you know we’re going to shine a light on the political truth. Which of those is a political stunt?,” Green said.
“I’d say the political stunt are these empty chairs [sic]. The Democrats also talk about bipartisanship, how this committee is supposed to be a bipartisan committee. I guess for them, bipartisanship is only when you agree exactly with them. To me, bipartisanship is where you sit down together and debate the issues and talk to try to find common ground and solutions. You can’t have bipartisanship if the other side fails to show up for their duty,” Green added.
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