Lawmakers Accuse USDOT of ‘Blatant Censorship’ and Coverup of Border Chaos
Washington D.C. – A group of federal lawmakers are alleging the Biden Administration is censoring reporting and engaged in a coverup about the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
Sixteen Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter last week to Steve Dickson, administrator of the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), demanding all records and communications regarding the Agency’s decision to issue a two-week Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the Del Rio International Bridge.
The FAA’s order, which cited “special security reasons” as its justification, was issued as more than 15,000 Haitian migrants were gathering underneath the bridge hoping to gain entry into America by making asylum claims.
The TFR resulted in the temporary grounding of a Fox News aerial drone which, at the time, was capturing stunning images of the humanitarian crisis.
“By preventing the use of unmanned drones to observe and report on rapidly deteriorating conditions in Del Rio, TX, the Biden Administration is attempting to hide the conditions and consequences of the border crisis from the American people,” the lawmakers wrote. “Considering the timing of the announcement, the specific geography targeted, the lack of justification given for the ‘Special Security Reasons,’ and the specificity of the announcement targeting unmanned aircraft systems, we can only conclude that this action by the FAA was done to shield the Biden Administration from scrutiny over the consequences of its disastrous border policies and prevent the public from receiving more images of poor conditions on the border.”
Following an intense backlash and threats of litigation, the FAA restored flight privileges to the cable news outlet the next day.
“Fox News applied this morning and has received clearance to operate from now until the end of September in the restricted airspace,” the FAA said.
Other media outlets such as Reuters and the Associated Press also requested and received permission to deploy drones in the area.
As a result, the group of Republicans are demanding an investigation.
The lawmakers directed Dickson to both preserve and deliver “all documents and communications with any entity within or outside of your agency” to the House Oversight Committee.
“Using government resources to conduct such blatant censorship is exactly the kind of abuse of power that must be rooted out of our government – to say nothing to the basic lack of transparency,” the Republicans wrote.
In an appearance on Fox News over the weekend, Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said 12,000 Haitian migrants that were detained in Del Rio have now been released into the U.S.
Further, Mayorkas confirmed a still undetermined number of the approximately 5,000 illegal migrants remaining in custody will also be released into the country.