Speaker of the House Mike Johnson railed against the Senate’s immigration deal Wednesday during his first floor speech as speaker. While the final text of the agreement has yet to be released, Johnson continues to set up the House to reject the deal.
In no uncertain terms, Johnson implied a lack of action from President Joe Biden, making the claim that the president could be doing more to help combat illegal immigration.
“From what we’ve heard, this so-called deal does not include transformational policy changes needed to actually stop the border catastrophe,” Johnson said.
As Johnson takes up this course of action, the speaker argues that Biden must use executive authority, accusing Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of having “designed this catastrophe.”
At one point in his speech to Congress, Johnson said that Biden has “falsely claimed” that Congress must pass a new law to allow him to “close the southern border.”
In 2018, Trump tried to use the authority that Johnson has cited, 212f, which gives the president authority to implement immigration restrictions to clamp down on border crossings. However, a federal appeals court ruled that the authority conflicts with asylum law and the 212f authority wouldn't be able to override it.
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, as it is best known, serves as an example of how the president is limited in his ability to shut down the border. The emerging border deal, while there’s no released text as of yet, could overhaul that and implement stricter limits that have not been previously enshrined into law.
The government itself has been held back from operating fully in regard to immigration enforcement resources. The United States has never been able to detain all border crossers, mostly due to the overwhelming numbers combined with a limited amount of detention space.
During his speech, Johnson said that some undocumented immigrants are “given a piece of paper that says ‘we’ll see you in a decade’ – it’s absurd.”
Migrants that are released from federal custody go through immigration proceedings, beginning with seeing an immigration judge. Based on that ruling, they would be allowed to stay in the United States, or removed. However, the system is so overwhelmed that some dates are already spanning as far as 2027.