Speaker Mike Johnson and 64 House Republicans Assess the Crisis on the Southern Border

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AP Photo/Eric Gay

On Wednesday, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson led a delegation of 64 House Republicans on a tour of the southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas. Their goal was twofold: to review the damage caused by the record influx of illegal aliens, particularly over the last month, and to put pressure on President Joe Biden to implement tougher immigration policies. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday led a delegation of 64 Republicans in a trip to the southern border as the GOP seeks to ramp up election-year pressure on President Joe Biden and Democrats to reach a deal on immigration restrictions.
The group toured the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry and held an afternoon news conference, during which the GOP lawmakers continued their demands for tougher restrictions and criticism of President Biden amid the tumult at the southwest border.

In his introduction to the press conference, Speaker Johnson referred to their location as “the epicenter of the crisis.”  

We have 64 House Republicans that have joined us here in Eagle Pass. They represent 26 states, one U.S. territory. You have everybody from California to Maryland, from Michigan to Florida. We represent over half of the U.S. States because every state in America is now a border state, and we’ve seen that on vivid display today.

Just listen to the caterwauling of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson or the whining of New York Mayor Eric Adams. These former sanctuary city champions have now gotten a taste of what Texas has had to endure for years, and they don’t like it one bit. We’re all border states now.

Johnson continued.

Today we were able to meet with local residents, with sheriffs, with the Texas DPS. We also toured the CBP processing facility here in Eagle Pass and it’s been an eye-opener. One thing is absolutely clear: America is at a breaking point with record levels of illegal immigration. And today, we got a firsthand look at the damage and the chaos the border catastrophe is causing in all of our communities. The situation here and across the country is truly unconscionable. We would describe it as both heartbreaking and infuriating. Our communities are overrun, we have local resources that are being strapped, we have lethal drugs that are pouring into our country at record levels. And it’s in less than three years that President Biden took office that this has happened.

Across those three years, Customs and Border Protection has recorded 7 million illegal encounters with over 1.5 million gotaways. CBP has detained 312 suspected terrorists. The month of December 2023 saw almost 300,000 incidents of illegal crossings, a historic and unprecedented number.

It is an unmitigated disaster, a catastrophe, Johnson said. What’s more tragic is that it is a disaster of the president’s own design. 

Johnson outlined the damage done by the Biden administration’s deliberate dismantling of former President Trump’s border security policies, coupled with its deliberate invitation for the entire world to invade the United States.

And since the time that President Biden took office, the administration has done next to nothing to protect the border, but we’ve all seen with our own eyes they have opened the border wide to the entire world. It’s estimated that nearly 170 countries have people coming in and flowing across this border. And some of these are from nations that have high numbers of concentration. These are not people who are fleeing and looking for asylum, that are in fear for their lives in their home countries. We have hardened criminals coming across that border. They are the ones being released from prison from some of these countries and sent here to come into the U.S.

As if on cue, the delegation received a live-action visual illustration. Fox News Senior Correspondent Bill Melugin videoed a group of Venezuelan illegal immigrants crossing over at the exact moment the Republican delegation was holding its press conference.

Ballsy.

But the message his policies have sent is the opposite of that; it’s quite clear. Under President Biden, America has laid out a welcome mat to illegal immigrants, smugglers, and cartels. He is responsible for the grave threat to our national security and our nation’s sovereignty that these policies have created. 

Johnson called out President Biden for his lack of leadership and his adversarial attitude toward Texas for stepping up to fill the void of the federal government’s inaction.

The people standing behind you have worked hard, we passed our legislation. More than seven months ago, you had red and blue states all across this country that are being forced to step up because the federal government has failed to do its job. Right here in Texas, Governor Abbott has heroically done more to enforce the law than the president has. And how has this administration responded? They have sued the state of Texas to stop their deterrence efforts. They have brought them to court to strike down their ability to put up buoys in the water, and razor wire, and the rest. It’s absolute insanity.

Johnson is threatening to strongarm Biden’s supplemental spending bill and hold it hostage until action is taken on the Southern Border. In early 2023, The GOP House passed House Resolution 2, but it has since languished in the Senate. 

With each passing day, each record broken, this administration’s dereliction of duty becomes more and more dangerous and more and more infuriating, and we are here to say that it must stop. What we saw today only made House Republicans more resolved to stand for sanity and the American people. And we will do it. If President Biden wants a supplemental spending bill focused on national security, it better begin by defending America’s national security. 

Johnson received applause over this last statement, but to the Texas border residents, and much of the American people, it is same-old, same-old

[Kenney County Attorney Brent] Smith argues that congressional delegations “coming to the border and holding press conferences is irrelevant because what matters is what happens in Washington, D.C. Continuing funding existing policies is allowing what’s happening here to occur.”
Maverick County resident and cattleman Martin Wall, agreed, telling The Center Square, “everyone in Congress is responsible for what is happening at the border. We feel abandoned by our own government. All they do is have meetings, photo-ops, press conferences and nothing changes.”

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