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House Speaker Mike Johnson Takes Republican Delegation to Southern Border

House Speaker Mike Johnson spearheaded a mission involving 64 Republicans to visit the southern border, intensifying election-year pressure on President Joe Biden and Democrats to reach an agreement on immigration restrictions. The delegation toured the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry and convened a news conference, where they reiterated their calls for tougher immigration policies and criticized President Biden’s handling of the border situation.

Border Visit by GOP Delegation

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House Speaker Mike Johnson led a group of 64 Republicans on a visit to the southern border, making a concerted effort to press President Biden and Democrats for action on immigration issues.

Border Insights

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During their visit, the GOP lawmakers explored the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry, gaining firsthand insights into the challenges at the border. They subsequently addressed the media at a news conference.

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GOP’s Stance on Immigration

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The Republican lawmakers used the occasion to reiterate their demands for stricter immigration restrictions and voiced their concerns about President Biden’s approach to the border crisis.

Speaker Johnson’s Assessment

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Speaker Johnson described the situation at the border as a “disaster of the president’s own design.” He emphasized the need for a robust response to address record levels of illegal immigration, characterizing the current state of affairs as “unconscionable.”

President Biden’s Response

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President Biden, upon his return to Washington, commented on the border situation and urged Republicans to support bipartisan legislation to fund immigration operations. He stressed the importance of providing the necessary resources to secure the border.

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White House Statement

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The White House responded to the Republican delegation’s visit, blaming Republicans for obstructing President Biden’s funding requests and for leaving Washington without resolving the issue before the holiday recess.

Supplemental Funding Request

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The Biden administration has proposed a supplemental funding request of nearly $14 billion, which includes funding for border operations as well as aid for Israel, Taiwan, and Ukraine.

Republicans Want Stricter Asylum Protocols

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The border funding would support the hiring of more border agents and immigration judge teams. However, Republicans have been adamant about linking this aid to broader border policy changes, including stricter asylum protocols.

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Republican Demands

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Speaker Johnson and other Republicans insisted that any supplemental spending bill focused on national security should prioritize the defense of America’s national security. They advocated for the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy and emphasized the significance of H.R. 2, a GOP immigration bill passed by the House last year.

Impeachment Proceedings

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In addition to their border visit, House Republicans are actively pursuing the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The House Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to hold its first hearing on January 10 as part of the effort to impeach Mayorkas for his handling of the border crisis.

Response from Homeland Security

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The Department of Homeland Security responded to the impeachment proceedings, labeling them a “baseless political exercise.” Mayorkas has been actively involved in congressional negotiations on border provisions and recently met with Mexican officials to address immigration issues.

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Senate Negotiations

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Key Senate negotiators have returned to Washington to continue discussions on the supplemental aid package. Progress is reported to be underway, although challenges remain in resolving the complex issue of immigration.

Schumer’s Remarks

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledged the progress but noted the difficulty of the immigration issue. He encouraged a bipartisan approach to addressing the border crisis and emphasized the need for collaboration.

Border Visit vs. Senate Work

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Schumer commented on the Republican delegation’s border visit, expressing the view that visiting the border was worthwhile but highlighting the Senate’s ongoing bipartisan efforts to find a solution to the border crisis. He underscored that a bipartisan solution would unlock funding for various international and humanitarian purposes.

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Immigration Remains a Complex Problem

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The visit by House Speaker Mike Johnson and the Republican delegation to the southern border underscores the pressing nature of immigration concerns in an election year. With ongoing negotiations and increasing scrutiny on border-related matters, the path forward on immigration policy remains complex and significant.

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