Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) criticized Democratic lawmakers on Thursday after staffers from the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee were banned from visiting the border due to their previous disruptive behavior.
“Whether you’re a member of Congress or not, if you go to the border you have to follow the rules,” Kennedy told Fox News host Sandra Smith. “It’s not the big rock candy mountain down there, it’s a law enforcement crisis.”
“If somebody follows the rules and they’re a member of Congress, they should be allowed to go,” he continued, “But if they don’t they shouldn’t.”
Kennedy’s remarks were in reference to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to block Democratic staffers from touring both Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities along the southern border, reported Fox News.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had sent aides to complete another set of “oversight inspections” of the detainment centers, however, DHS denied access to the committee staffers after they were “disruptive” and refused to follow instructions from immigration officials during their prior visit.
“But let’s face what this is all about — not all of them, but many of my Democratic friends now believe in open borders,” Kennedy said. “They think anybody that wants to come into America should be able to come in, they should be eligible for welfare, and food stamps, and free health care, and they should be able to stay on those programs as long as they want, and if you disagree with my Democratic friends, you’re a racist.”
“Now, they’re entitled to their opinion, but I’m entitled to mine and I think their argument is pernicious, I think it’s malign, I think it’s on-the-pipe crazy,” he continued. “I think vetting people who want to come into your country is not racist, it’s prudent, if for no other reason but public safety.”
The Louisiana senator urged his Democratic colleagues to be open and honest about their support of open borders rather than “playing games” and continuing to “throw up roadblocks” and interfere with law enforcement’s ability to secure the border.
“Now all of my colleagues on the Democratic side — I don’t want to, many of them are in good faith, but there’s some who go down there and they do everything they can to disrupt law enforcement,” Kennedy said. “They hate border security, they hate Border Patrol, they hate ICE, they believe in open borders, and if you disagree with them you’re a racist and I just think that’s on-the-pipe crazy.”
While Kennedy refrained from naming names, the comment was seemingly a nod to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who ignited a firestorm in July after she made wild, and unfounded, claims about CBP agents and detention facilities following her visit, which were heavily disputed by immigration officials.
Critics accused the self-proclaimed “radical” of making bad faith accusations to promote her anti-ICE narrative. Only weeks earlier, she received massive blowback for comparing the detention facilities to Nazi concentration camps. She has continued to stand by that claim.