- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2021

Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee labeled the border a “crisis” and demanded Thursday that the panel hold a hearing to explore the Biden administration’s troubled handling of the situation.

Led by Rep. James Comer, the ranking Republican, all GOP lawmakers on the oversight committee said Democrats themselves should want to hold the hearing to get to the bottom of the Biden team’s use of unlicensed facilities to hold illegal immigrant children — something Democrats complained about when the Trump administration did it.

“This Committee must schedule a hearing to conduct oversight of the welfare of migrant children being held in these container facilities,” the lawmakers wrote to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat and chair of the panel. “The Committee should also examine the Biden Administration’s plan for reducing the overall numbers of unaccompanied children arriving illegally at the southern border, as well as its plans for handling the current surge.”

The Republicans last month also requested a hearing to examine school closures in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the new letter, they said “both American children and migrant children are in crisis.”

Ms. Maloney’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the demand for hearings.

Left without the majority in either chamber, Republicans have few avenues to get answers from a Biden team that Democrats have every incentive to protect from tough questions.

In the last week, the Oversight Committee has pursued probes into Texas’s energy situation after last month’s deep freeze, the SolarWinds hack and Homeland Security’s use of commercially available data to track down illegal immigrants for deportation.

No hearing has been scheduled on the border situation.

The top Republicans on the Judiciary Committee on Thursday also demanded hearings in that panel on the migrant surge and treatment of children.

They said the shelters that are tasked with holding illegal immigrant children who show up at the border without parents were receiving 337 new juveniles a day as of late last month.

Republicans pointed to the hearings Democrats held over the last two years on Trump administration handling of illegal-immigrant children, and said Democrats must show the same zeal for the Biden team.

“Your silence on this issue in the last five weeks unfortunately suggests that you do not plan to hold the Biden administration to the same standard,” wrote the Republicans.

White House officials have rejected labeling the border surge a “crisis,” instead calling it a “challenge” they believe they are prepared to meet.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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