Republican lawmakers slammed President Joe Biden and his administration after the White House threatened that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would reduce removal operations of illegal immigrants if Congress refused to pass the Senate’s border bill.
During a press gaggle aboard Air Force One on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that ICE will “be forced to reduce operations because of budget shortfalls” in the “coming weeks.”
The press secretary appeared to shift the blame Wednesday for the border crisis that has taken place under the Biden administration’s open border policies. Jean-Pierre argued that congressional Republicans are prioritizing “partisan politics” instead of U.S. national security by “refusing to pass the bipartisan national security agreement.”
“Here is what that means: ICE would be forced to reduce its removal operations, its total detention capacity, and more,” Jean-Pierre added. “When ICE can’t conduct these operations, our national security and public safety will be harmed.”
The $118 billion bill mentioned by the White House press secretary has been proposed in the Senate and includes roughly $20 billion for border funding; however, Republicans have warned that the legislation could make the border situation worse and is merely a “trap” to “boost Biden” ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
In response to the White House’s threat of cutting back on ICE’s illegal immigrant removal operations, Republicans in both the House and the Senate criticized the Biden administration for “threatening the American people.”
Rep. Austin Pfluger (R-Texas) tweeted, “President Biden has now resorted to threatening the American people with an even worse border crisis. The President already has the tools and authority he needs to close the border. This crisis is intentional.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) described the White House’s threat as “extortion,” while Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) claimed Biden is not “serious” about securing the southern border between the United States and Mexico. Scott argued that the border legislation is only meant to “score political points.”
“Is Biden the President or a mobster?” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) questioned in a post on social media. “Attempting to shake down Republicans for a bad immigration bill won’t secure our southern border. It shows Biden can fix the problem that he created.”
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) warned Americans not to believe the “blame-shifting nonsense” of the Biden administration. The senator explained that when he proposed a bill to provide additional funding to deport illegal immigrant criminals from the United States, “every single Democrat voted against it.”
“This is blackmail,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) wrote in another post on social media. “And an admission that Biden controls the level of illegal immigration. The entire border crisis is by design.”