Speaker of the House Mike Johnson led a delegation of 64 Republican lawmakers on a trip to Eagle Pass, Texas on January 3 as Republicans ramped up pressure on the White House and Senate Democrats to reach a deal on border security, ABC News reported.
Following a tour of the Eagle Pass port of entry, the lawmakers held a press conference where they demanded tougher border and slammed the Biden administration for failing to secure the border.
During the press conference, Johnson said the tour had “been an eye-opener.”
The speaker said the country had reached a “breaking point” from the record number of illegal aliens crossing the border and the tour gave lawmakers “a firsthand look at the damage and the chaos” the border crisis has caused.
Calling the situation “unconscionable,” Johnson said the crisis was a “disaster” of Biden’s making.
When President Biden returned to Washington from vacation on January 2, he blamed Republicans for the border crisis, claiming that the problem was a lack of funding.
As the Republicans were on their way to Texas, White House spokesman Andrew Bates repeated Biden’s claim, saying in a statement that the GOP had blocked the president’s request for border security funding before leaving for Christmas recess. Bates blasted Speaker Johnson for refusing to work with the White House and Senate Democrats to “find common ground.”
Bates accused the speaker of blocking the president’s funding request that he said would be used to hire additional Border Patrol agents, asylum officers, and immigration judges.
During the press conference in Eagle Pass, Johnson argued that if the president wanted supplemental national security funding, “it better begin by defending America’s national security.”
The speaker insisted that there were actions the president could take unilaterally to increase border security. He demanded that the Biden administration reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy and other provisions enacted under Donald Trump.
Citing HR-2, the House immigration bill passed last year that would restart construction on the border wall, the speaker said the legislation was a “necessary ingredient” to any deal with the Democrats.