EXCLUSIVE: Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is hitting back at the White House for trying to pin the migrant crisis at the border on House Republicans.
Johnson’s office put together a new memo on Tuesday morning detailing 64 actions taken by the Biden administration and illegal immigration milestones that the GOP argues have made the border situation worse since President Biden took office. Many of the points mentioned are also linked to what reforms Republicans are seeking from the White House in the ongoing border negotiations, which appear to have slowed so far this week.
“Since his first day in office, President Biden and his administration have worked to systematically undermine America’s border security,” Johnson told Fox News Digital.
“On more than 60 occasions, he has manipulated the federal bureaucracy to open our borders to illegal immigrants, human trafficking, fentanyl, and potential terrorists. The result is a humanitarian and national security catastrophe.”
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House Speaker Mike Johnson is firing back at the White House amid a standoff on border policy. (Getty Images)
He urged Biden to take unilateral action on border security, a demand Johnson first made in a letter to the president in late December.
“The President must use his executive authority to repair what he has broken. I am calling on him to do so,” Johnson said.
His memo took issue with Biden rolling back key Trump administration policies, such as Remain In Mexico, which are now being pushed by the House GOP amid border talks between the Senate and White House.
Among the actions Johnson’s memo highlighted are Biden’s termination of the national emergency at the border on his first day in office, and his order to halt construction of the Trump administration’s border wall.
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It also accused Biden of increasing barriers on agents seeking to take enforcement actions, and pointed to the Biden administration’s expanded use of catch-and-release to allow undocumented migrants to await their immigration proceedings within the U.S.
Johnson argued that the Biden administration’s expansion of parole authorities and government assistance programs for undocumented migrants similarly encouraged the historic increase in border encounters.
Migrants flood into Eagle Pass, Texas, waiting to be processed on Dec. 18, 2023. (Fox News)
The document also included data on monthly border encounters, including unaccompanied children, as well as the amount of fentanyl seized at the border.
It comes after White House spokesman Andrew Bates last week accused House Republicans of worsening the border crisis by withholding approval for the president’s funding requests.
But the Tuesday memo cited instances of Biden administration policy that Johnson suggested made the crisis worse, as Republicans continue to argue that funding increases are meaningless without policy changes.
GOP lawmakers are seeking those policy changes in ongoing conversations with the White House. Republican leaders have made clear that they would not approve funding for Ukraine or other parts of Democrats’ $110 billion supplemental funding request without those changes.
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Some hardliners in the House Republican Conference have gone further, insisting that all government funding be withheld unless changes are made.
And while those conversations are going on with the Senate, the House GOP has signaled that they will likely seek more conservative reforms than whatever will come out of the talks.
Johnson himself suggested he would not entertain anything less than H.R.2, the House GOP border bill that would reinstate many of the Trump administration policies that the Tuesday memo hits Biden for rolling back.
Senate Democrats and the White House called that bill a nonstarter.
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But even the left has conceded that something has to change, as border communities and big cities around the country struggle with a surge of people seeking asylum in the U.S.
While the final numbers have not been released, early reports have said that December is on pace to have seen more than 300,000 migrants encounters at the southern border – the highest monthly total in history.
Fox News Digital reached out to the White House about Johnson’s new memo but did not immediately hear back.