The border crisis continues to be in the news, but this time not because of immigrants illegally crossing the border or cartels taking advantage of the complex context to further their criminal activities, but because the Biden administration denied passage to several GOP lawmakers to visit the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC).
Nearly a dozen GOP lawmakers sent a missive to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland denouncing that they were denied access to the El Paso Intelligence Center on their trip to the southern border on May 25.
The letter was signed by Representatives Mike Garcia (R-CA), Brian Babin (R-TX), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), and John R. Carter (R-TX), all members of the House Appropriations Committee, and five other GOP lawmakers.
This intelligence center is run by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and is directly managed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), thus lawmakers criticized the lack of transparency on the part of government agencies.
“With each passing day, it becomes clearer that this administration is desperately trying to cover up the failures that led to the worst border crisis in our country’s history and that they intend to hide the truth from the American people about how their tax dollars are being spent, and how dangerous Biden’s policy decisions will be for generations to come,” the GOP lawmakers wrote in the letter to U.S. Attorney Garland.
GOP legislators who traveled to the southern border noted that it is important to have access to the facilities in order to better understand the immigration crisis through dialogue with officials and also to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently in these types of intelligence centers.
In particular, one of the representatives, Mike Garcia, denounced that it is vital for the Republicans to be able to communicate directly with the officials to be able to transmit the complaints they receive and several of the problems in their districts in relation to the immigration crisis.
According to a press release from Garcia’s team, the representatives wanted to visit EPIC to “better understand what is being done to address threats to the nation resulting from the current lack of border security.”
The representative argued that the visit to the intelligence center was vital because of “record amounts of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that are coming across the porous U.S. border.”
The California legislator also said in his statement that he “planned to speak with DEA officials about the illegal marijuana grows threatening communities in California’s 25th District, a problem that is fueled by the current lack of border security.”
After weeks, GOP lawmakers call for answers from DOJ
The lack of transparency regarding the facilities in El Paso is not a new complaint. Last May 27, Mike Garcia denounced on Fox News his concerns about restricted access to GOP lawmakers.
“This isn’t something we surprised them with, we didn’t ask them the day before or two days before, we’ve been trying to get in there for a couple of weeks. And it’s coming from the top, it’s coming from the White House they don’t want us in there, they don’t want us seeing what it is,” Garcia told Fox News last month.
You can make a conjecture about why it is they don’t want us in there. In my opinion, and I won’t prejudge it, but my opinion is, they have data they are gathering at this intelligence center which is clearly indicating that our open borders are actually a more serious problem than the average American understands right now,” he added.
However, the formality to meet with an attorney general did come weeks later, after the first allegations.
There is still no pronouncement from the White House or the Justice Department on the GOP lawmakers’ complaints about the lack of transparency at the border and government intelligence centers.