Sen. Johnson for the Washington Examiner: Rushed, Secret Negotiations are Not the Way to Address the Border Crisis

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the Washington Examiner published an op-ed written by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), where he emphasized that rushed and secret backroom negotiations by Senate leadership with President Biden are not the way to address the Democrat-caused crisis at the southern border. The senator stated that this effort should be about actually securing the border — not broader immigration reform. 

The full op-ed can be found here and excerpts are below.

 “Over the weekend, I joined 14 Republican Senate colleagues in releasing a letter calling for a meeting of the Senate Republican Conference to discuss the negotiations with the White House and Senate Democrats regarding securing our border. The letter appears to have succeeded in letting Senate leadership know that a large group of senators does not want to be jammed with legislation addressing the catastrophe at our border without a thorough review by us and the public.

 “The crisis at the southwest border is unlike anything we’ve experienced in history. The massive flood of illegal migration is an order of magnitude larger than the ‘humanitarian crisis’ former President Barack Obama sparked when he abused prosecutorial discretion and granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in 2012. In 2019, Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, stated that 1,000 apprehensions per day ‘overwhelm[ed] the system.’ We recently experienced more than 14,000 encounters in a single day, and it has become common for encounters to exceed 10,000 per day.

“Unfortunately, Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress want an open border. Biden came into office with the border largely secured and then immediately reversed all the policies that had successfully stemmed the flow of illegal immigrants. The fact that Biden and congressional Democrats are the root cause of the crisis is a major problem in conducting good-faith negotiations with them.

“Indeed, because Biden has not faithfully executed existing law, repeatedly lied to the public, ignored and violated Supreme Court rulings, and failed to engage in meaningful negotiations on securing the border until only recently, it is impossible for Republicans to trust him to comply with whatever he agrees to. That’s a real challenge for Republican negotiators.

“Moreover, conducting rushed and secret backroom negotiations is not the way to address the unprecedented border crisis. That’s the kind of business as usual process Washington leadership has relied upon to mortgage our children’s future and weaken our country. Whatever negotiators produce will need to be fully vetted, discussed, and understood — by members and the general public. That will take weeks, not hours or days.

“But this effort should be about securing the border — not broader immigration reform. Addressing DACA recipients is politically impossible until the border is secure, and now, with Biden expanding the population of undocumented immigrants by more than 6 million people, he has made the problem significantly worse.

“The essential ingredient will be how to enforce any agreement reached. I have suggested making Ukraine funding contingent on benchmarks being met on a monthly basis. I am open to other foolproof enforcement ideas, but negotiators must realize enforcement is the key to any agreement that can pass the House and Senate.”