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Speaker Johnson sends letter asking Biden to take executive action on border

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As Congress begins its holiday break with no new deal reached on border security, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday, Dec. 21. In the letter, the speaker blamed the president for the crisis at the border and called on him to take several executive actions to “stem the record tide of illegal immigration.”

All of this is the direct result of your administration’s policies

House Speaker Mike Johnson
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Johnson told the president the southern border is “overrun” and U.S. Customs and Border Protection is at a “breaking point” seeing a record number of illegal crossings.

Johnson, citing CBP data, said on average more than 8,000 migrants illegally enter the U.S. each day, and this week saw a record number of crossings in a single day. The speaker said this is a direct result of the Biden administration’s policies.

Johnson’s letter also touched on the record amounts of fentanyl being seized at the border.

“The wide-open border has caused unspeakable human tragedy for migrants and certainly for our own citizens,” Johnson wrote. “During FY2023, CBP seized ‘enough fentanyl to kill the entire U.S. population,’ and fentanyl poisoning is now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45.

“Countless children and adults have been victims of human trafficking and cartels have been emboldened and enriched. Local communities have been devastated and terrorists and dangerous criminals have entered illegally and dispersed across our country. We are now more vulnerable to a terrorist attack on our homeland than ever.”

Among the actions requested, the speaker called on the president to resume construction of the border wall and to expedite the return of migrants who cannot demonstrate asylum eligibility. 

“All of this is the direct result of your administration’s policies,” Johnson wrote to the president. “You have clearly undermined America’s sovereignty and security by ending the Remain in Mexico policy, reinstating catch-and-release, suspending asylum cooperative agreements with other nations, ignoring existing restraints on the abuse of parole, and halting border wall construction.”

Senate negotiators were hoping to strike a deal on border measures before the holiday break in order to pass a bill for additional funding for Ukraine, but ultimately left without reaching a compromise.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Thursday’s press briefing she had not yet reviewed the letter but said the president has done everything he can on his own. 

“Obviously we are part of these negotiations with the senators; we think it’s going in the right direction,” Jean-Pierre said. “We want to make sure we get to a bipartisan agreement. The president understands, he understands that we have to fix this immigration system — it’s been broken for decades now.”

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