Speaker Johnson Urges Immediate Action from Biden to Secure Border

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has called on President Joe Biden to take immediate executive action to address the surge of illegal immigrants at the U.S.–Mexico border, warning that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is “at breaking point.” In a letter to the president dated December 21, Speaker Johnson outlined several remedial actions that he believes are urgently needed. These include ending the administration’s controversial “catch-and-release” policy, expanding expedited removals, renewing construction of the border wall, and reinstating President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Johnson also urged President Biden to use the Immigration and Nationality Act to suspend the entry of all or certain groups of illegal immigrants in order to “regain operational control of the border.”

Speaker Johnson highlighted the devastating impact of the current border situation, citing soaring illegal border crossings, a troubling increase in fentanyl overdoses, and an elevated threat of terrorism on U.S. soil. He attributed these issues directly to the policies enacted by the Biden administration. According to CBP data, agents encountered a record-setting 2.48 million illegal immigrants at the southern border in fiscal year 2023, continuing a trend that began after President Biden took office in 2021.

In addition to highlighting the detrimental effects of the border crisis, Johnson drew attention to the impasse in Congress, particularly with regards to H.R. 2, dubbed the “Secure the Border Act.” The bill, passed by House Republicans in June, has yet to be taken up in the Senate and has been met with strong opposition from the White House. Negotiations in the Senate to find a compromise have slowed to a crawl, as the chamber adjourned for the holidays on December 20. Despite ongoing talks, any deal would have to wait until both chambers have reconvened for a vote.

While Democrats are seeking additional funding for Ukraine, Republicans insist that any funding be tied to border security measures. In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said their colleagues are making “encouraging progress” toward finding a solution, but challenging issues remain. They expressed hope that an agreement would allow the Senate to take swift action on a national security supplemental early in the new year.

In the meantime, House Speaker Mike Johnson has made it clear that he believes the situation at the border requires immediate attention and action. The ongoing impasse in Congress and the urgent need to address the crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border will undoubtedly continue to be key issues in the coming year.


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