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Former DHS secretary says Biden administration ‘unfairly’ perceived as ‘lax’ on border issues

The Hill logo The Hill 9/18/2022 Olafimihan Oshin
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Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Sunday that the Biden administration has been “unfairly” perceived as “lax” when it comes to the ongoing migrant border crisis.

“This administration, I believe, unfairly, is perceived as lax on border enforcement. In fact, we are sending back over 100,000 people a month and have been for the last two years, over 2 million people,” Johnson told CBS’s “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan. 

“The lesson I learned managing this issue is you’ve got to repeat yourself maybe 25 times before anybody will listen to you,” he added. 

Johnson, who served in the Obama administration, said despite the notion shared by Republicans that the Biden administration supports an “open border” policy and is unregulated, the U.S. in fact has been sending migrants back to the southern border via expulsion or deportation and that the issue has expanded regions since he served as secretary.

“We were dealing principally with the Northern Triangle countries Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico. This problem has become hemispheric. In addition to those countries, you now have Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela who are not cooperating with us,” Johnson told Brennan. 

“Their countries are literally imploding and there is migration to the north and the south,” Johnson added. “Our Border Patrol capabilities, our resources are bigger than they were eight, seven years ago when I was in office. But they do struggle to keep up with this … crisis.” 

Johnson’s remarks come as GOP Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas) and Ron DeSantis of Florida sent buses and planes filled with migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and the residence of Vice President Harris last week.

DeSantis and Abbott, along with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) have been sending migrants to northern, Democratic-run cities such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago throughout the summer in protest of Biden’s efforts to end Title 42, a Trump-era policy that blocked migrants from seeking asylum. 

Johnson also said that he believed the GOP governor’s migrant initiative is a “political stunt.”

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