Two House Republicans are demanding documents related to reporting that President Joe Biden‘s transition team was warned by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials about the possible consequences of reversing his predecessors immigration policies.
In a letter sent to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday, first shared with Newsweek, Representatives Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) accused the new administration of refusing to “accept responsibility for the growing humanitarian and security crisis.”
“This refusal to accept responsibility is startling in light of a news report that suggests the Biden Administration was warned that reversing President Trump’s successful immigration policies would lead to a surge at the border,” they wrote. “We write to request documentation relating to these warnings.”
The report referenced, published by NPR on March 23, featured former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf stating that career agency officials stressed problems would arise at the U.S.-Mexico border if the new administration removed immigration policies such as “Remain in Mexico” and other asylum measures. The concerns were allegedly raised during multiple briefings the department held with Biden’s transition team.
Wolf conceded to the news organization that the number of migrants arriving at the border was likely to increase under Biden regardless, but asserted that the new president’s policies only added to the challenge.
Jordan and McClintock echoed that view in their letter Tuesday, writing that “the reversal of President Trump’s successful immigration policies have created a tremendous incentive for illegal aliens to surge to the southern border. President Biden and his Administration are responsible for the resulting crisis at the border.”
The two Republicans have requested all documents and communications exchanged by the agency and the Biden transition team about immigration policy between October 1, 2020 and the present in order to better “understand the warnings given by DHS officials to the Biden transition team.”
Biden began to roll back many of the hardline immigration policies put into place by the Trump team shortly after entering office in 2021. The president has signed executive orders to curb deportations, freeze border wall construction and reunite families separated by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy in 2018.
Mayorkas has defended the administration’s immigration approach and has pointed the finger at the Trump administration, which he argued dismantled the system over the past four years.
Seasonal surges of migrants have been the norm for years, as reported by The Washington Post last week. But Republicans lawmakers have jumped on the recent surge to criticize Biden, arguing that his changes in policies have led to the current situation. GOP and Democratic lawmakers have also expressed concerns about the conditions in which unaccompanied migrant minors are being detained amid reports that facilities are overcrowded amid the surge.
When asked during his first solo press conference last week whether he moved too quickly in reversing back some of Trump’s immigration policies, Biden asserted that the measures underway “were not helping at all” and argued the increase in migrant arrivals under his administration is not unprecedented.
“I make no apologies for ending programs that did not exist before Trump became president that have an incredibly negative impact on the law, international law, as well as on human dignity,” Biden said.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment on Jordan and McClintock’s letter, but didn’t receive a response prior to publication. The DHS told Newsweek it responds to congressional correspondence through official channels.