Speaker Johnson Heads to the Border to Put Pressure on Biden to Conclude Immigration Deal

News & Politics

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) is heading to Eagle Pass, Texas, which is ground zero for the massive surge in migrants that has overwhelmed Customs and Border Patrol facilities along the entire southwest border, on Wednesday.

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“While President Biden and Senate Democrats are asleep at the wheel, House Republicans will not cease in demanding transformative, immediate solutions to the madness,” Johnson said in a statement.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited Mexico City to speak with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and other Mexican officials about the crisis. López Obrador suggested that America reestablish relations with Cuba and Venezuela and give tens of billions in development aid to Central and South America. That might slow down the surge of migrants in ten years but will do absolutely nothing today.

Biden wanted López Obrador to severely limit border crossings from Guatemala into Mexico where most of the Central American migrants are choosing to head north.

In other words, López Obrador told Biden that Mexico will enforce its immigration laws however it chooses and America is SOL otherwise. This puts even more pressure on the bipartisan group of senators tolling away trying to reach a consensus on immigration and asylum reform.

“Bipartisan border security negotiations are essential to the Senate’s efforts to address critical national security priorities,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement. “Challenging issues remain, but we are committed to addressing needs at the southern border and to helping allies and partners confront serious threats in Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific.”

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New York Sun:

Mr. Johnson has been amping up his criticism of the Biden Administration’s handling of the border issue in recent weeks. In mid-December, Mr. Johnson called on the administration to detain all migrants encountered between ports of entry and to reinstate President Trump’s remain in Mexico policy. He also called on Mr. Biden to “renew construction of the border wall.”

Johnson wants detention of any illegal who crosses anywhere except a designated port of entry. That would be tens of thousands of illegals, most of whom want to claim asylum, being held by ICE. It’s not going to happen. And the border wall won’t be finished for years. We need to act now.

According to the year end report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the total number of encounters between ports of entry rose to 3.2 million in fiscal year 2023 from 2.8 million in 2022. In November and December of 2023, the border patrol reported about 309,000 encounters and 308,000 encounters respectively. The December flow is the highest level ever recorded in a single month.

Mr. Johnson’s visit also coincides with reports of a 6,000 person migrant caravan trekking 1,000 miles from the Southern Mexico border to the American border.

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Most of those migrants wanting asylum are allowed to enter the United States and wait for their court date. Current wait times can be as long as seven years. 

The talks about an immigration deal have only gotten serious after polls showed Democrats that their policies are wildly unpopular. Whether they’re going to give enough to make a real difference at the border remains to be seen.

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