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28 Jan, 2024 19:18

US Republican leader accuses Biden of lying

The president has claimed he cannot stem the record flow of illegal immigration across the country’s southern border without the backing of Congress
US Republican leader accuses Biden of lying

US President Joe Biden does not require an act of Congress to close the country’s southern border with Mexico, House Speaker Mike Johnson wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday, criticizing the president over his endorsement of the Senate’s “border deal.” 

Biden can unilaterally end the record-high number of illegal crossings with executive action. He called on the president to “start by using the broad legal authority he already possesses” to “reverse the catastrophe he has created.” 

Starting points could include “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. He noted that he had already proposed these solutions to Biden several times. 

Most of Johnson’s proposed solutions involve reinstating the policies of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, who is campaigning to return to the White House in 2024 on a platform that includes shutting down the border on day one of this presidency and deporting massive numbers of illegal aliens. 

Like Johnson, Trump has ridiculed the idea that Biden needs approval from Congress to curtail the torrent of illegal immigrants flooding the US from the south. The former president argued that he didn’t require “a bill” to secure the border during his own presidency. 

Biden praised the legislation on Friday as “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country,” explaining it would give him “a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed.” He acknowledged the US-Mexico border was “broken,” affirming it was “long past time to fix it” and promising to use his new “emergency authority” immediately if the law passed. 

Johnson had previously warned his Republican colleagues in a letter on Friday that the border deal would be “dead on arrival” in the House if the details being reported in the media were accurate. This would be despite if Senate Republicans greenlit the legislation. The so-called immigration deal is said to fund border enforcement in exchange for more military aid to Ukraine, which many Republican lawmakers have fiercely opposed.

According to the Washington Post, the legislative package will allow up to 5,000 illegal crossings per day before denying new arrivals access to the asylum system, equating to 150,000 unlawful crossings per month or 1.8 million per year. Migrants caught entering after this number would be immediately expelled, and asylum claims would only reopen when daily crossings fell below 3,750. 

US Customs and Border Protection reported a record 302,024 encounters at the US’ southern border in December 2023, with the vast majority – nearly 250,000 – occurring between ports of entry, i.e., illegally.