Garcia, lawmakers request answers from DOJ

Congressman Mike Garcia (R-25) discusses some of his priorities while in office. March 22, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, joined Republican lawmakers Tuesday to denounce the Biden administration’s Department of Justice for denying him and eight congressional colleagues a tour of the El Paso Intelligence Center during their visit to the southern border on May 25. 

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the congressional delegation wrote the Justice Department’s rejection of its request during its May trip to the border and the offer to tour the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso site later this year “is completely unacceptable.”  

“The tactic makes a mockery of the checks and balances envisioned in our Constitution and is a blatant violation of President (Joe) Biden’s ‘commitment to transparency’ regarding the crisis on our southern border,” read the delegation’s statement. 

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, requested the tour multiple times weeks ahead of the trip, according to Molly Jenkins, Garcia’s communications director. 

“It’s an important part of his role on the appropriations committee to ensure federal funds are spent properly,” Jenkins said of Garcia’s effort to visit the site. “(It’s also) an opportunity to speak with DEA officials about (the) impact of (an) open border – especially its impact on the illegal grows in (the 25th District) as well as (the) opioid epidemic.” 

The Department of Justice had not responded to a request for comment from The Signal as of the time of publication. 

Jenkins said the lawmakers also wanted to learn more about what the president has done related to border security. 

The lawmakers ended their letter with a series of five questions to learn more about Department of Justice protocols to tour the site. 

“What is the justification for delaying 13 members of Congress access to a congressionally authorized and funded facility for several months?” the lawmakers asked, requesting a meeting with Garland before June 30.  

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