Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., on Sunday criticized the GOP immigration bill as too “extreme,” while affirming that President Biden is “doing everything he can” regarding the border crisis.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Khanna, who notably appeared virtually from the 2024 primary state of New Hampshire, deflected blame Republicans have placed on the Biden administration for repealing Trump-era policies meant to deter illegal immigration. The discussion took place after at least 82,000 migrants had surged at the border by the end of last week after Title 42 ended.
“Nothing has gotten done since President Reagan signed by bipartisan immigration reform in 1986. And instead of throwing fingers at each other, why don’t we come together on some common principles?” Khanna said to host Shannon Bream, rejecting the idea that this is new problem. “We need a safe and secure border, and we need an orderly and humane process. That means Congress needs to act. We need to provide the money to have judges there and to have immigration officers so that we can actually be quickly processing the claims.”
Khanna added: “The president is saying that these claims should be processed in hours. People who aren’t legitimate should be sent back. We need to have more money for Border Patrol, which, by the way, the House has passed under Democratic leadership. Two years ago, the Republicans didn’t vote for that. But why not come up with a bipartisan solution? That’s what I want.”
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Rep. Ro Khanna defended President Biden on the border crisis, claiming it’s Congress that’s failed to provide the administration enough resources. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Bream noted many of those provisions are included in the Republican immigration bill, as well as requiring employers to use the federal E-Verify program to determine whether current or prospective employees are legally authorized to work in the United States.
“Their bill is extreme,” Khanna said Sunday. “The Senate won’t pass their bill. I mean, their bill takes away funding from any of the NGOs in El Paso. You talk to Veronica Escobar, who represents that area. Why wouldn’t we want NGOs giving water to people coming across or helping deal with the situation on the border? Their bill is for a border wall. That is not something Democrats can or will support, but we will support increased funding for Border Patrol. We will support increased funding for immigration judges to quickly process things. We will support better technology and security on the border. So why not come up with a compromise?”
Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at a news conference on May 11, 2023, in Brownsville, Texas, to discuss the ending of Title 42. (Michael Gonzalez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
“And the president, by the way, is doing everything he can to reverse the catch and release,” Khanna added. “You have border agents now and judges quickly calling people who are coming at the border within hours. And many of the folks who don’t have legitimate claims aren’t being allowed in.”
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Khanna placed the blame on Congress for not providing the Biden administration enough resources to secure the border. “I don’t believe this is either a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s a both party issue. I mean, President Reagan is the last president who’s gotten this done and since we’ve had no bipartisan agreement,” he said. “Do you want to just score political points or do you want to actually work, compromise and get something done? Well, I want to get something done.”
Republicans have blamed Biden for the situation at the border, with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, going so far as to say what is happening “is deliberate,” and the result of a “decision” by the president and other Democrats “to open up the border” to the surge.
On Capitol Hill Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., claimed, “Joe Biden doesn’t give a damn about Americans,” amid the border crisis.
Sen. Rick Scott speaks on border security and Title 42 during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 11, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., added at the same press conference that Biden could extend Title 42 by declaring another public health emergency as COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted, citing the more than 70,000 Americans who are estimated to have died from fentanyl overdoses.
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“First of all, the exact problem with politics is what Sen. Scott said,” Khanna said Sunday. “I mean, come on, President Biden doesn’t give a damn about Americans? Here’s someone who has dedicated his entire life to public service. I would never say that about President Trump. I would not say that he doesn’t care about Americans. So why don’t we actually deal with the issues instead of these ad hominem attacks on our president? Of course, I would support stronger policy to get fentanyl out of America, and I’m concerned about China that’s been shipping it. It’s wrong. I’ve heard the testimony in Congress of mothers who’ve lost their children. And let’s solve that. I mean, instead of launching ad hominem attacks at the president.”