March 13, 2019

Judiciary Committee Democrats to DHS: Explain Actions Taken Against Journalists, Lawyers Along Mexico Border

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen calling for an explanation into actions taken on the Southern border against journalists or lawyers

 

            “Please provide a detailed explanation of any actions taken by DHS against any journalist or lawyer on either side of the border and include descriptions of any intelligence gathering effort, cooperation with the Mexican government, and details of any alerts, stops, inspections, and searches faced by journalists and advocates working at or near the border,” the senator wrote.

 

            “Access to legal services, humanitarian aid, and a free press are cornerstones of our democracy and should not be eroded. The U.S. government should not participate in any effort to target or punish those who document the facts or provide assistance to those in need.”

 

            Full text of the letter follows:

 

 

March 13, 2019

 

The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen

Secretary of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20528

 

Dear Secretary Nielsen: 

 

            We write concerning recent reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with Mexican officials, has taken retaliatory actions against journalists and lawyers along the southern border.

 

            Over the past few months, a number of news reports have documented harassment of journalists and attorneys along the border. U.S. officials are said to cooperate with Mexican police and subject individuals to prolonged detention and unlawful searches, and deny entry into either country. NBC News reported that DHS compiled dossiers and lists of reporters, attorneys and activists in order to flag them for scrutiny when crossing the border in San Diego.

 

            Please provide a detailed explanation of any actions taken by DHS against any journalist or lawyer on either side of the border and include descriptions of any intelligence gathering effort, cooperation with the Mexican government, and details of any alerts, stops, inspections, and searches faced by journalists and advocates working at or near the border. 

 

            Access to legal services, humanitarian aid, and a free press are cornerstones of our democracy and should not be eroded. The U.S. government should not participate in any effort to target or punish those who document the facts or provide assistance to those in need.

 

            Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

 

Richard Blumenthal

United States Senator

 

Sheldon Whitehouse

United States Senator

 

Amy Klobuchar

United States Senator

 

Patrick Leahy

United States Senator

 

Mazie K. Hirono

United States Senator

 

Christopher Coons

United States Senator

 

Kamala D. Harris

United States Senator

 

Cory Booker

United States Senator

 

Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator

 

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