House Speaker Mike Johnson and other GOP lawmakers visited Eagle Pass, Texas, to witness migrants crossing the southern border in front of them. The trip came as Republicans in Congress push for stronger immigration policies as cities across the U.S. try to manage a massive influx of migrants. In the 2023 fiscal year, the U.S. Border Patrol had 3.2 million encounters, with nearly 400,000 migrants trying to enter the U.S. through the section of the southwest border that includes Eagle Pass during the last fiscal year.
Johnson met with local residents, sheriffs, and the Texas DPS Department of Public Safety. He also toured the CBP processing facility in Eagle Pass, highlighting the unconscionable situation and the damage caused by the border catastrophe. The House speaker described the situation as both heartbreaking and infuriating, describing it as an unmitigated disaster and a disaster of President Joe Biden’s own design.
In October, Biden requested Congress to approve a $106 billion supplemental funding package, which included $13.6 billion for border protection, aid for Ukraine’s war against Russia, Israel’s war with Hamas, and other humanitarian assistance. The money would be used to hire 1,300 more Border Patrol agents, 1,600 additional asylum officers, and 375 new immigration judge teams. Out of the $13.6 billion, over $1.2 billion would be used to combat the smuggling of fentanyl across the border.
The package has been stalled in Congress as Republicans push for different policies in conjunction with funds for border security.