U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) defended the idea of linking aid to Ukraine with enhanced U.S.-Mexico border security funding during a “Fox News Sunday” appearance.
“We have to take care of our own border first,” said Johnson.
Johnson's stance comes in contrast to Democratic leaders' accusations that Republicans are leveraging global conflicts to push through stringent immigration measures without congressional consensus, Fox News reported.
Johnson dismissed criticism from Democratic caucus chairs, asserting that prioritizing American interests aligns with the desires of U.S. citizens. He emphasized the necessity of securing the nation's borders, framing it as a fundamental concern for the American people.
“What this is about is advancing the agenda and first priorities of the American people. I don’t know which Democrat gave you that absurd quote, but they clearly are not listening to their constituents,” Johnson said. “If you go out into the country people will say, ‘Look, we understand our role as a leader in the free world, and we understand that we’re the great superpower that needs to assist and ensure that freedom survives, but we have to take care of our own house first.’”
Amid the ongoing discourse on international aid, Johnson highlighted a bipartisan recognition of the need to address the surge in illegal border crossings and associated issues such as drug trafficking and human smuggling.
“And securing our border is an essential priority for the American people. So they’re not listening to their constituents. I think that’s a tone-deaf response,” he said. “Again, we can do all these things together, but when you couple Ukraine and the border, that makes sense to people because they say if we’re going to protect Ukraine’s border, and we have to do what if necessary there, we don’t want Vladimir Putin to prevail — we can’t afford that, the free world can’t afford that, but we have to take care of our own border first.”
In the interview, Johnson noted that there have been more than 6.3 million illegal border crossings since President Joe Biden took office in 2021. “That’s more than the population of my state,” he stressed.
“We cannot continue this, everyone knows it,” Johnson added. “And the fentanyl that’s coming over the border, human trafficking, the cartels making billions of dollars off of our backs, we are going to stop that. And the House Republicans are committed to it. I think the people are with us.”
Responding to a large anti-Israel demonstration in Washington, D.C., Johnson expressed concern over rising antisemitism. He addressed criticism from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) regarding emergency funding for Israel, which Johnson helped expedite through the House.
Johnson justified the funding proposal by highlighting fiscal responsibility and suggested reallocating funds from the IRS budget to support Israel, stating that it was more important to protect Israel than “hiring more IRS agents.”