Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) lambasted Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson for failing to appear before a House panel examining the department’s detention and release of illegal immigrants.
“We’re having an important debate here in Congress regarding the Department of Homeland Security and the debate centers around… the unconstitutional actions of this president last November,” the Ohio lawmaker said at the committee hearing Wednesday morning.
Jordan highlighted a recent court decision blocking Obama’s executive amnesty and the constitutional scholars who have said the actions are unlawful.
“Yet we invited the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to come and testify today and in the midst of all this — and people like Mr. Shaw and Mr. Ronnebeck coming to testify — Sec. Johnson said he couldn’t make it and he couldn’t even send a designee,” Jordan said.
Jordan was referring to two of the panel’s witnesses, Michael Ronnebeck and Jamiel Shaw, who have had family members murdered by illegal immigrants.
“Now you would think with this debate being as big as it is the department could at least come to Congress this week and testify,” Jordan said.
“I’ve seen Mr. Johnson on TV every day for the last week and a half, yet he can’t make it to a committee in Congress, with this panel? It’s ridiculous. Just ridiculous,” Jordan said.
“So I appreciate this hearing but the frustrating part is we don’t have the department here to answer all kinds of important questions,” he added.
One question Jordan noted he would have liked to ask the department is: “How can Congress fund something we all believe is unconstitutional and a federal judge has said is unlawful? How can we do that?”
According to the Ohio Republican it “makes no sense” that Johnson can appear on television but he “can’t come here in front of Congress, take a few minutes of his time, to maybe answer questions that families who are here have.”
Democrats on the panel argued that the department wasn’t given enough time to prepare for an appearance. Rep. Jordan chairs the recently-formed House Freedom Caucus.