WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, spoke with NBC’s “Meet the Press” this morning about possible solutions to address the ongoing crisis at the border.
Excerpts of his interview are below and video can be found here.
“Since 2014 ... 1,086,000 people have come in as an unaccompanied child or, primarily, as a family unit and have been apprehended. 1,086,000 people – about half of those have come in the last nine months alone. So it's overwhelming our system, and the goal of our policy should be to reduce that flow. Turn it into a legal process. There's a number of things we can do. One of the things we have to do is raise that initial bar in terms of claiming asylum. Hopefully set up centers in Guatemala, in Central America, so people can claim refugee status. But this is completely out of control.”
“There was a survey done by the Association of Research and Social Studies in Guatemala that said that a third of Guatemalans intended to migrate to the United States – that’s almost 6 million people. A Gallup poll showed 158 million people worldwide, 42 million people in Latin America, want to migrate to the United States. We can't take all comers. We have to have a legal system, primarily designed toward working with our economy to get people in here to work so we can continue to grow our economy. This is completely out of control.”
“I'm working with Democrat colleagues on a pilot program called Operation Safe Return where we can rapidly and more accurately determine those families that clearly don't have a valid asylum claim, and the majority of them don't have a valid asylum claim, and safely return them to Central America. That will require some U.S. funding as well. There are also humanitarian organizations who are willing to facilitate that, but we have to have that consequence.”