After visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said thecrossing into the U.S. illegally or appearing at ports of entry to claim asylum is “overwhelming” U.S. authorities.
“The processing centers are back open but they’re grossly overcrowded because of the unbelievable situation on the border — the out of control nature of it,” Johnson said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
Last month, U.S. immigration authorities apprehended or turned back— including approximately 58,000 families and nearly 9,000 unaccompanied children — along the southwestern border.
The Trump administration has called the situation a “breaking point” and urged lawmakers in Congress to change the “framework” of U.S. immigration laws and increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees both Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Johnson echoed the concerns of the administration, saying U.S. immigration laws are sustaining a “wicked business model” operated by human smugglers who cross migrants into the country.
“We have to change our laws to stop rewarding, incentivizing people across our border illegally,” he added.
The Wisconsin Republican accused Democrats of being more concerned about congressional probes into President Trump’s conduct and a potential impeachment inquiry, than on legislative efforts to help border officials cope with the large-scale migration from poverty-stricken parts of Central America.
“In the House, you’re just talking about impeachment investigations. It’s very unfortunate,” he added.
Richard Escobedo contributed reporting.
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