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GOP congressmen call for Trump-era border policies amid records levels of migrant encounters

As the Biden administration plans to reopen several ports of entry on the southern border Thursday —  including a crossing in Lukeville, Arizona — Republican congressmen called on the president to reinstate immigration policies from former President Donald Trump’s era.

House Speaker Mike Johnson and Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) joined dozens of colleagues at Eagle Pass on the Texas border.  

They urged Biden to reinstate strict immigration policies enacted under  Trump amid record-breaking numbers of encounters at the border. Johnson said that includes Trump’s controversial “Remain in Mexico” program. Johnson also called on Biden to end his administration’s “catch and release program.”

An immigrant himself, Ciscomani accused President Joe Biden of not doing his part. 

“In the Tucson Sector we saw record breaking numbers in December. The trend is in the wrong direction. This administration has no answers and no will to tackle this issue,” he said.

The Republicans urged the Biden administration and the U.S. Senate to pass a border package from the House that would limit who can apply for asylum and who would be granted parole.

Johnson didn’t answer a question posed by a reporter at Wednesday’s press conference as to whether he supports mass deportations.

“It’s a complicated issue just finding those people,” Johnson said. “I do believe in large part because of this issue, I think we’re going to have a change in the White House,” he said.

Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.