President Joe Biden intensified his rhetoric on the issue of border security Friday, telling lawmakers in a late-day statement that he was ready to take tough action on immigration if Congress can reach a deal.
Using rare strong language, President Biden characterized the situation at the border as a "crisis," and said if Congress passed the bill, he would "shut down the border" the same day he signed it into law.
"Securing the border through these negotiations is a win for America. For everyone who is demanding tougher border control, this is the way to do it," President Biden said. "If you're serious about the border crisis, pass a bipartisan bill and I will sign it."
In a letter earlier Friday to fellow Republicans, House Speaker Mike Johnson warned that the immigration reform bill, still being negotiated in the Senate, may never see the light of day in the House of Representatives.
Details about the bill have not been made public, but Johnson said if rumors he's hearing about the bill are true, it's "dead on arrival."
The bill in the Senate would tie immigration reforms to funding for Ukraine and Israel. Johnson argues that immigration should be the No. 1 priority, noting that the House passed an immigration reform bill nine months ago.
"As we have explained repeatedly, that bill contains the core legislative reforms that are necessary to actually compel the Biden administration to resolve the border catastrophe," Johnson stated.
Complicating matters, former President Donald Trump has publicly criticized the Senate's bipartisan attempt to address immigration reform. Trump, who is the leading candidate to be the party's nominee for president, called the Senate's negotiations "meaningless" and warned that any deal would be a "gift" to Democrats.
Johnson, for his part, is not just focused on what could come from a Senate immigration bill; he's also planning to take action against Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
"When we return next week, by necessity, the House Homeland Security Committee will move forward with Articles of Impeachment against Secretary Mayorkas," Johnson said.
He added that a floor vote would soon follow.
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