WASHINGTON – At a classified national security briefing on the ongoing border crisis, Biden administration officials declined to provide details that were previously shared with staff.  Now, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is calling on the immigration officials to provide a more fulsome assessment of the national security risks posed by the border crisis.
 
At Grassley’s request, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement provided an April 1 classified staff briefing on the national security situation along the Southern border. The severity of the details shared prompted Grassley to seek an escalated briefing for committee members, which occurred on April 19.  However, at that briefing, the same agencies failed to provide the same level of detail they’d previously shared with staff. They have failed to follow up on questions raised at the briefing despite pledges to do so.
 
“As I’ve stated before, the Biden administration has created a national security crisis at the border and members need to fully understand the national security implications with respect to terrorists, narcoterrorists, human smugglers and their criminal counterparts. When the committee asks for a full member-level briefing, we expect your agencies to be open and transparent with as much detail as possible. On April 19, 2021, that standard wasn’t met,” Grassley said in a letter to immigration officials.
 
Grassley is calling for prompt responses to all outstanding questions as well as a follow-up briefing to cover material withheld from the lawmakers.  Text of Grassley’s letter follows:
 
May 3, 2021
 
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
 
Mr. Troy A. Miller
Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner
Customs and Border Protection
 
Mr. Tae D. Johnson
Acting Director
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
 
Dear Secretary Mayorkas, Mr. Miller, and Acting Director Johnson:
 
On April 1, 2021, at my request, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement provided a classified briefing to my and Senator Durbin’s staff regarding national security issues at the Southern Border.  Given the importance and timeliness of the information your staff provided, I requested a bipartisan member-level briefing for the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
 
On April 19, 2021, the committee had that bipartisan member-level briefing with the same agencies.  However, the agencies provided less information to the members than they did to staff.  Moreover, during the course of the briefing and in response to member questions, the briefers stated that they would provide responsive material after the briefing; however, your agencies have failed to produce that responsive material to date. 
 
As I’ve stated before, the Biden administration has created a national security crisis at the border and members need to fully understand the national security implications with respect to terrorists, narcoterrorists, human smugglers and their criminal counterparts. When the committee asks for a full member-level briefing, we expect your agencies to be open and transparent with as much detail as possible.  On April 19, 2021, that standard wasn’t met. 
 
Accordingly, no later than May 10, 2021, please provide all responsive material in response to member questions and work with my staff to arrange a follow-up member level briefing to provide updates on the border crisis. 
 
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Should you have any questions, please contact Josh Flynn-Brown and Erin Creegan of my Judiciary Committee staff at 202-224-5225.
 
Sincerely,
 
Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
 

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