Even before the polls opened on Election Day, Democrats were gearing up to launch a two-year inquisition of the Trump administration and their efforts to enforce the nation’s immigration law.
On November 1, the ranking members of the three House committees (Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Oversight & Government Reform) fired off a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressing their opposition to deployment of U.S. troops to the border and demanding details about its length and cost, as well as what the rules of engagement would be.
They left little question that the inquiry was about settling scores, not setting good border security policy.
“This effort is nothing short of a militarization of the southern border to score political points and stoke misleading fears among Americans regarding immigrants,” they wrote, adding that the deployment “is another example of the President using fear-mongering tactics over a humanitarian issue. This use of military personnel and resources for functions outside of core mission areas warrants additional Congressional oversight.”
Weeks later, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who will chair the House Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, opened up another investigatory avenue with a litany of questions for the heads of various agencies involved with the Administration’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy.
Among the issues addressed were the DNA tests used by Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine whether children were related to adult migrants and how many children were separated from their parents after being detained for illegally entering the U.S. Despite the fact he will not take the gavel until 2019, Nadler wants answers by the end of 2018.
And in an interview published today in The Washington Post, incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) outlined his plans to aggressively push back on the Administration’s policies.
“We will hold hearings in committee on any and all aspects of DHS. … We will not back off of this issue,” boasted Thompson, who also plans to investigate the tear-gassing of migrants over the weekend in response to violence against border agents. He did not indicate an examination of the Obama administration using pepper spray and tear gas on multiple occasions.
Thompson even indicated there may be a willingness among Democrats to use the appropriations process and funding measures to as the means to achieve their ends.
“As far as I’m concerned, no option is off the table,” Thompson said before noting that each committee “has responsibilities, and we have to carry them out.”
Nadler and Thompson came into the House in 1992 and 1993 respectively and have stood in the way of efforts to enforce U.S. immigration law ever since. It is no surprise to learn they’d rather use their gavels to bash the Trump administration rather than to bring order to a chaotic immigration system.
Jennifer G. Hickey writes for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.