Speaker of the House Mike Johnson led a contingent of several dozen Republican representatives to the border on Wednesday to pressure the Biden administration to consider border security legislation.
Johnson (R-LA) gave a press conference in front of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, surrounded by 60 members of the House Republican Conference. In the speech, he cautioned that he was unlikely to support border security compromises that tied legislation to curb the flow of unlawful migrants into the United States to additional financial and military support for Ukraine’s war against Russia.
The Senate is working on legislation that would see modest border security enhancements implemented in exchange for $110 billion being released to support Ukrainian and Israeli war efforts as tensions ratchet up along the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
Johnson, however, threw cold water on the Senate’s efforts and committed himself to the tougher border security package that House Republicans passed in May of 2022. He blamed the Biden administration for allowing an unprecedented wave of unlawful migration.
“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. But instead of taking responsibility and providing leadership, this administration has done nothing but attack elected officials who are trying to fix this catastrophe,” he said.
Johnson’s point was highlighted when a small group of unlawful migrants reportedly crossed the Rio Grande and requested asylum during his speech.
Punchbowl News reporter Jake Sherman photographed the group of unlawful migrants and shared the development in a post on the social media platform X:
“Migrants are trying to cross into the United States literally feet from House Republicans and [Speaker Johnson].”
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates fired back at Johnson and accused the Republican Party of having an anti-border security record. This statement comes despite record-breaking levels of unlawful migration during Biden’s presidency.
“Actions speak louder than words. House Republicans’ anti-border security record is defined by attempting to cut Border and Customs Protection personnel, opposing President Biden’s record-breaking border security funding, and refusing to take up the President’s supplemental funding request,” Bates said.
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) highlighted a different reality with a video message posted on X. The Freedom Caucus Republican said the United States would become “unrecognizable” if the unlawful migration crisis is allowed to continue.
“Our school systems, our hospitals, and our communities will soon be flooded with illegal immigrants that American taxpayers are expected to pay for. America will be unrecognizable if we don’t shut down the southern border immediately,” Weber said.