House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is leading a congressional delegation to Arizona this week in his first trip to the border as speaker, his office announced Monday.
McCarthy will visit the busy Tucson Sector of the border Thursday with four freshman members, Reps. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), and Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ).
The five members are planning to receive an aerial tour of the border from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and then speak to press in Cochise County.
Ciscomani, who represents a portion of the sector, recently gained attention for delivering the Spanish version of the GOP response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union. The Arizona Republican pointed out the nationwide fentanyl epidemic as he acknowledged the border trip in a statement online.
“Look forward to welcoming @SpeakerMcCarthy & my colleagues @RepLCD, @RepJenKiggans, & @RepVanOrden to the southern border as fentanyl continues to tear apart Arizona families,” Ciscomani said. “Thank you Speaker McCarthy for prioritizing border security & fighting to keep our communities safe.”
Look forward to welcoming @SpeakerMcCarthy & my colleagues @RepLCD, @RepJenKiggans, & @RepVanOrden to the southern border as fentanyl continues to tear apart Arizona families.
Thank you Speaker McCarthy for prioritizing border security & fighting to keep our communities safe. https://t.co/OjFwXa6QZE
— Rep. Juan Ciscomani (@RepCiscomani) February 13, 2023
McCarthy’s visit comes as Republicans ramp up pressure on the Biden administration to address the record-breaking flood of illegal migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. CBP data shows encounters have neared a jaw-dropping five million during Biden’s tenure as of January, a number that does not include an estimated one million “got-aways,” i.e., those who have entered the country undetected.
And while the administration was quick to share numbers from last month, which were significantly down from December, numbers in January 2023 were roughly double that of January 2021.
The U.S. Border Patrol union, of which about 90 percent of Border Patrol agents are a member, denounced those attempting to frame January numbers as a victory.
Suggesting the border crisis is improving is a “fairy tale sold by propagandists,” the union wrote. “It’s getting WORSE.”
In addition to McCarthy’s visit, House Republicans on various committees, including Homeland Security, Judiciary, and Oversight, have launched various immigration-related investigations.
Judiciary chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) recently told Breitbart News he plans, after a series of investigative hearings, to produce meaningful immigration legislation through his committee, though he is up against Biden and Senate Democrats in terms of any legislation becoming law.
The chairman is, like McCarthy, planning a trip to the Arizona border next week to hold a field hearing for his committee as he continues to shed light on the impacts that surging migration has had on Americans nationwide.
Other members, including most prominently Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Pat Fallon (R-TX), are calling for the House to impeach Biden’s border chief, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
In McCarthy’s last trip to the border, in November 2022, the GOP leader also took a direct shot at Mayorkas, demanding he resign or face a thorough investigation that could lead to an impeachment inquiry.
McCarthy said at the time, “If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure will determine whether we can begin [an] impeachment inquiry.”
Mayorkas, for his part, has appeared unfazed by Republicans’ heightened scrutiny.
In response to McCarthy’s resignation calls, Mayorkas said in early January during an appearance on ABC’s This Week that he has no intention of leaving his role.
He said, “I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m proud to do it, alongside 250,000 incredibly dedicated and talented individuals in the Department of Homeland Security, and I’m going to continue to do my work.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
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