Former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson says Trump's reelection chances will be maximized if the federal government doesn't treat the migrant crisis as an 'all hands on deck' situation

  • Jeh Johnson said that a failure to effectively tackle the migrant crisis would boost Trump in 2024.

  • Johnson made the remarks on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where he spoke of the severity of the issue.

  • "The federal government needs to be all hands on deck, and that includes the State Department," he said.

Former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday said that the Biden administration needed to treat the ongoing migrant crisis as an "all hands on deck" situation, warning that a failure to do so could strengthen former President Donald Trump's electoral chances as he looks to retake the White House in 2024.

During a conversation on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Johnson praised the administration's decision to afford temporary protected status to Venezuelans who had already entered the United States.

But he also said that the immigration surge was creating a whole host of issues for the federal government.

"It was a good thing that the Department of Homeland Security, my old department, decided to grant TPS to about 9,500 Venezuelans ... that will expedite their ability to get jobs sooner and faster. But that's really just a drop in the bucket," he said. "This problem has no end in sight. And the two most alarming statistics I heard over the weekend, 8,900 apprehensions on our southern border in one day, last week, and that on the Mexican border with Central America, South Americans are now exceeding Central Americans in terms of the migration north."

"This is a hemispheric problem, and you have a hemispheric shift moving northward right now," he continued. "The federal government needs to be all hands on deck, and that includes the State Department."

Johnson, who led the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017, then said that Trump — should he win the GOP presidential nomination next year — would benefit politically if the migrant surge wasn't treated with the sort of intensity needed to tackle the issue.

"In purely political terms, you want to maximize Donald Trump's chance of re-election? Fail to deal with this problem," he told the MSNBC panel. "This will turn our politics upside down."

President Biden has faced bipartisan criticism from lawmakers over his handling of immigration at the US-Mexico border, an issue that he used as a political cudgel against Trump during the 2020 election — pointing to the Republican administration's divisive family separation policy. But since taking office, the administration has had to grapple with an ever-growing number of apprehensions at the southern border.

And the president continues to struggle with voters on the issue ahead of the 2024 election.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Sunday, only 23% of registered voters approved of Biden's handling of immigration at the southern border, compared to 62% of respondents who disapproved.

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