House Speaker Johnson at border: ‘Disaster of the president’s own design’

Johnson led a group of 64 lawmakers in a trip to the southern border on Wednesday: "We want to get the border closed and secured, first"

Published: January 3, 2024 4:04pm

Updated: January 3, 2024 4:23pm

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said on Wednesday that the crisis at the southern border is a "disaster of the president’s own design," adding that Biden has the authority to fix the problems.

A group of 64 lawmakers representing 26 states visited the southern border in Texas on Wednesday.

Describing the situation there as "heartbreaking and infuriating," Johnson called on President Biden to reinstate the "Remain in Mexico" policy that he ended as soon as he took office in 2021. He also said the Biden administration must end "catch and release," which allows illegal immigrants apprehended at the borer to be released into U.S. communities. 

Johnson said those policy changes would "stem the flow" of illegal immigrants arriving at the border by 70% or more.

He told reporters that a border sheriff explained to him that the policy changes made since 2021 have "dismantled" 100 years of progress on border security.

House Republicans on the border trip urged Biden to resume construction of border barriers along open areas of the border.

Johnson said there have been 7 million border encounters with illegal immigrants under Biden and a record amount of 312 individuals on the terrorist watchlist caught at the border. He noted that the Biden administration has taken the state of Texas to court for taking steps to secure the border.

"Madness is the only word that we can think of to describe this," Johnson said, as another lawmaker suggested treason as another word. "Treason, I don't know. It comes to an end soon and we're here to make sure it happens."

Johnson emphasized that the president has the authority to “stop this madness."

He said the Biden administration has opened the border to the "entire world."

Johnson declared that any foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel that Congress passes “better begin by defending America’s national security." Republican leaders are pushing to incorporate border security measures into a supplemental foreign aid package.

"We want to get the border closed and secured, first, and we want to make sure that we reduce non-defense discretionary spending," he said.

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