House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) denounced President Biden’s support of the Senate-backed U.S.-Mexico border deal, arguing he can use executive action to curtail the number of encounters the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deals with daily.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Johnson said that Biden does not need to pass new legislation to address the situation at the southern border.
“President Biden falsely claimed yesterday he needs Congress to pass a new law to allow him to close the southern border, but he knows that is untrue,” Johnson said. “As I explained to him in a letter late last year, and have specifically reiterated to him on multiple occasions since, he can and must take executive action immediately to reverse the catastrophe he has created.”
Johnson went on to list several actions Biden can take.
“As my letter stated, President Biden can begin to secure the border by ending catch-and-release, ceasing exploitation of parole authority, reinstating the Remain in Mexico program, expanding the use of expedited removal authority, and renewing construction of the border wall,” Johnson continued. “The President must start by using the broad legal authority he already possesses to reclaim our nation’s sovereignty and end the mass release of illegal aliens into our country.”
Johnson’s response comes after Biden’s statement on Friday when he vowed to shut down the U.S. Mexico border “when it becomes overwhelmed” if bipartisan border security legislation passes Congress.
“Let’s be clear,” Biden said in the statement on Friday. “What’s been negotiated would — if passed into law — be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country. It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law.”
The border bill is currently being negotiated in the Senate, along with the attached funding for Ukraine and other U.S. allies. Johnson said in the letter to his colleagues the negotiated legislation is “dead on arrival” in the GOP-led House if the rumors about the border deal are true.
The White House told Johnson that Republicans in the lower chamber have to pick between finding a bipartisan solution or landing “political points.”
“House Republicans, they have a choice to make. They have to choose whether they want to solve a problem, actually solve a problem like the Senate is trying to do in a bipartisan way. Or, get in the way and score political points,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday.
CBP confirmed there were 302,024 total encounters at the U.S. southern border in December last year, setting a new record.