House Oversight Committee launches probe into border chaos

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer announced Thursday a broad probe into the chaos at the southern border and said he’ll give top Border Patrol agents a chance to explain directly to the public how bad things have gotten.

Mr. Comer scheduled a hearing for early February and invited the chief agents in four Border Patrol sectors to testify.

He also fired off a new list of demands to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas seeking transparency in how the Biden administration has run the border over the last two years. That includes requests for how many people have been caught and released, how much of the department’s job has been outsourced to nongovernmental agencies and how badly morale has suffered among Border Patrol agents.

“The Biden administration’s deliberate actions are fueling human smuggling, stimulating drug cartel operations, enabling deadly drugs such as fentanyl to flow into American communities and encouraging illegal immigrants to flout U.S. immigration laws,” Mr. Comer said in announcing the moves.

Mr. Comer invited the top Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona; El Centro, California; and Del Rio and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

The Kentucky Republican’s moves mark a major break for the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, which during the previous two years did little to probe the Biden administration’s management of the border. And when Homeland Security officials were called to testify, it was usually agency leaders or political appointees.

Giving a platform to career Border Patrol officials could prove embarrassing for Mr. Biden and Mr. Mayorkas.

The Homeland Security secretary has regularly clashed with agents, who say his policies have made their jobs impossible, pulled them off the front lines and consigned them to processing and released migrants while leaving the country’s borders open to record levels of illegal activity.

Mr. Comer has already announced a hearing on fraud in coronavirus assistance programs.

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