Republican Border-Security Hawk to Lead House Homeland Panel (1)

  • Panel to play leading role in border security oversight
  • Congressman has slammed ‘crisis of epic proportions’

(Updates throughout with additional reporting.)

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A Tennessee congressman backed by conservative border hawks is set to lead the Homeland Security Committee during this congressional session.

House Republican leaders on Monday nominated Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) as chairman of the panel. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) had also been vying for the role. Both made their cases to the House Steering Committee earlier in the day.

Green is a member of the House Freedom Caucus — a frequent thorn in the side to embattled Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — and notched endorsements from some of the Biden administration’s biggest critics on immigration at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Green said he wants to restructure the sprawling Department of Homeland Security, bolster committee staff, and place two aides at the border to monitor enforcement needs.

“We all know the border is not secure,” he told reporters Monday. “You can’t objectively look at what’s happening and say it’s secure.”

Susan Walsh/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rep. Mark Green speaks during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 19, 2021.

An Army veteran and former emergency room doctor, Green has slammed the Biden administration for what he’s called “a crisis of epic proportions” at the US-Mexico border. He’s previously introduced legislation supporting border wall construction.

Border Security to Take Center Stage on GOP Homeland Panel

Green will lead the panel as it makes a sharp turn toward oversight on border security and other DHS functions. The agency has struggled to manage an increase in migrant arrivals over the past two years, and Republicans pledged to make border oversight one of their top priorities during this congressional session.

The panel will likely play a supporting role in any Judiciary Committee efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Green said the homeland panel will spearhead oversight and pass along any findings that merit removal of an official.

The committee is also likely to ramp up oversight on cybersecurity, federal emergency response, transportation security, and other DHS matters. The committee and others with overlapping jurisdiction over DHS will likely hash out a power-sharing and coordination agreement in the coming weeks.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who was chair during the past two sessions of Congress, will be the homeland panel’s ranking member.

Over the next two years, the panel will play a leading role in efforts to strengthen DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, oversee pay improvements at the Transportation Security Administration, and ensure DHS’s counterterrrorism officials keep pace with domestic and foreign threats.

Former DHS officials, advocates, and lobbyists have also called on the committee to pursue a sweeping reauthorization bill to smooth coordination within the agency, but committee jurisdictional challenges may stymie any efforts. Green on Monday expressed an interest in restructuring DHS but didn’t go into specifics.

“I know how to do process improvement and fix those things,” he said.

With assistance from Alex Ruoff

To contact the reporters on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at; Emily Wilkins in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Robin Meszoly at; George Cahlink at; Sarah Babbage at

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