Rep. Ashley Hinson, speaking to Newsmax on Wednesday from the southern border, said she's seeking answers about why the Department of Homeland Security released an immigrant who appears on the FBI terror watch list into the United States but did not arrest him again until weeks later.
"It's very concerning that he was released into our country in the first place," the Iowa Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "He should never have been released in the first place. But it speaks to the bigger problem of accountability with this administration."
The congresswoman sent a letter to the administration last week demanding answers about the release of the man, Isnardo Garcia-Amado, a Colombian citizen, in Yuma, Arizona.
Border Patrol agents released Garcia-Amado on April 18 near Yuma and gave him a GPS monitoring device rather than detaining him, reports Fox News, quoting a federal source.
Three days later, on April 21, the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center flagged Garcia-Amado, as being a match on the terror watch list, but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement didn't get the authorization to arrest him until May 4. He was finally arrested on May 6 in Pinellas County, Florida, and was transferred to ICE custody on May 9.
"Why did you release someone who was on the terror watch list into our country?" Hinson said Wednesday. "Why were they roaming our country free for two weeks? Are there any other people who are on the terror watch list who are facing the same fate where they have been released into our country, and now we are trying to track them down?"
The congresswoman added that President Joe Biden is "directly causing this crisis at our southern border" with his policies.
"It's a pretty simple fix," said Hinson. "Don't release terrorists into our country. Let's stop with the catch and release. Let's reinforce the Remain in Mexico policy as we should be doing. Let's build the wall."
She noted she's in McAllen, Texas, where "hundreds of millions of dollars worth of unused steel are sitting here that is destined for the wall. That steel is paid for. That was put there to continue construction on the wall and that stopped in January of 2021 when Joe Biden took over as president."
Hinson is in Texas with about a dozen members of the House Budget Committee and said the trip was made to focus on accountability for taxpayers.
"It's about safety and security for our communities, because the truth is, this administration continues to dodge us and will not give us answers," said Hinson. "It's why I've called for Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas' resignation from the Department of Homeland Security because ultimately he is accountable for these failures by the administration."
But Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are also accountable, said Hinson, but "they continue to turn a blind eye to it."
Hinson said local officials in Iowa are also concerned about the influx of drugs and dangerous people into their communities, "and they are directly asking us for resources now because the federal government has failed them."
The trip is also a fact-finding mission to hear from Border Patrol agents what resources they need and how the government can "fix this problem," said Hinson.
"Do we need more people?" she said. "Is it money, or is it materials? What is it that we need to solve this problem? Let's focus on that."
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