Sen. Ron Johnson: If We Continue at This Pace, We’ll Have 800,000 Illegal Border Crossings in 1 Year

By Melanie Arter | May 28, 2019 | 2:13pm EDT
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( – Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that if the illegal border crossings continue at this pace, there will be 800,000 illegals crossing the border in one year.

“Senator, I know you just came back from the border where you were yesterday in that area where we saw that migrant death just this week due to an outbreak of the flu. I know dozens have been quarantined as a result. Are you concerned that there will be more deaths like this because of overcrowding?” CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked.


Johnson, who serves as chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the Border Patrol believed that the flu outbreak at the McAllen, Texas, detention center might have been the H1N1 virus.

“Well, first, let me say that the men and women of our Border Patrol and other volunteers from the federal government are doing a heroic effort trying to deal with this humanitarian crisis. Yeah, we're all concerned. They had an outbreak of flu. They believed it might have been H1N1, highly dangerous, but the processing centers are back open, but they are grossly overcrowded because of the unbelievable situation on the border, the out of control nature of it,” he said.



“Just the last three weeks, on average about 23,000 women, children, and men are coming over across the border illegally as family units or as unaccompanied children – 22,000 to 23,000 a week. We're almost eight months into this fiscal year, and we're up to about 400,000 in total,” the senator said.

“And if it continues at this pace, in one year, we'll have about 800,000 unaccompanied children and people crossing the border illegally as a family unit – 800,000. So this is overwhelming our system, and we have to stop it. We have to change our laws to stop rewarding, incentivizing people across our border illegally,” Johnson said.

“Senator, I hear your concern here and the assistant secretary raised it last week on this program, and, yet, Congress went home for recess without allocating any money to this border crisis, and, in fact, Republicans had agreed to strip it out of the disaster relief bill. How is that possible?” Brennan asked.

“Well, first of all, I've been advocating to make sure that the Department of Homeland Security and HHS get the $4.5 billion emergency spending request. They need that money. They need it desperately,” Johnson said.

The senator said hopefully the funding will be quickly appropriated when Congress is back in session after the Memorial Day holiday.

“But again, we are allowing this to happen. It is our broken laws that are sustaining this wicked business model. These human traffickers, they're probably pocketing $3-4 billion dollars per year,” he said. “We have to change our laws.”

Brennan asked whether it was a mistake for President Donald Trump to say he won’t work with Democrats until they stop the investigations.

“Well, my guess is he's just stating reality. It's going to be pretty hard to pass legislation when that's all the House is really doing. I warned voters ahead of the 2018 election that if you put Democrats in charge of the House, all you're going to be talking about is investigations, talk of impeachment, and it won't be about governing and creating greater prosperity for Americans, and that's kind of what we're seeing play out here,” Johnson said.

“It's very unfortunate--particularly, when you take a look at things like an emergency spending bill that we need for some of these disasters, that we need for you know, getting the situation at the border under control. When you talk about the fact we have to fix our horribly broken immigration system so we can stop or reduce this flow,” he said.

“You know, I heard Beto O'Rourke saying, all we have to do is assign a case officer to every one of these families. Well, that'd be about 400,000 case officers or people that could handle 400,000 families, this year alone. We don't have that kind of personnel. So the goal of our policy should be to reduce that flow, and in the House they're just talking about impeachment investigations. It's very unfortunate,” the senator said.



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