A recent viral video capturing a group of immigrants crossing the border in the presence of the Speaker of the House has highlighted the ongoing challenges at the southern border. This incident adds to the growing concerns about the border crisis, which is intensifying during President Joe Biden’s tenure.
At the onset of 2024, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson commenced the year with a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border. On Wednesday, January 3rd, a limited number of immigrants were captured in photos and videos as they traversed the Rio Grande River, heading towards the U.S. border. In close proximity were Johnson and some fellow House of Representatives members. Accompanied by 62 other GOP lawmakers, Johnson toured Eagle Pass, Texas, a border town witnessing a significant increase in illegal immigrant encounters during the Biden administration’s recent years.
Throughout the visit, a video was recorded by Howard Mortman, the communications director at C-SPAN, and shared on social media. The brief 30-second clip depicts the House Speaker, accompanied by lawmakers, observing through razor wire. As the camera shifts, the Speaker shakes his head, and the focus turns to a group of immigrants in the Rio Grande, wading through the water with their luggage. Jake Sherman from Punchbowl News also documented the scene with a photograph, displaying a few immigrants in the river.
During a press briefing, Johnson conveyed that he and his fellow legislators engaged with law enforcement, border officials, and community members during their excursion. They also conducted a tour of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in the border town. Johnson expressed that the facility visit provided a profound realization, emphasizing that the nation is reaching a critical juncture due to the situation. He characterized the circumstances as unacceptable, distressing, and enraging.
Johnson additionally censured President Biden and his administration, alleging that they have undermined “100 years of progress” made by the U.S. Border Patrol.
The Eagle Pass visit follows the continuous efforts by GOP members of Congress to implement more robust border and immigration policies. This is occurring amidst challenges faced by cities nationwide in coping with the surge of new arrivals, leading to a strain on resources. In Fiscal Year 2023, a total of 3.2 million immigrant encounters were recorded, with 400,000 attempting to cross into the U.S. through the sector encompassing Eagle Pass.