New Mexico rancher, Russell Johnson, urged lawmakers Saturday, to “quit politicizing” the southern border and instead, address the U.S.’s problematic immigration system.
In an interview with Fox News’ Eric Shawn, the fourth generation New Mexico rancher explained that issues on the border exceed the number of migrant families crossing illegally, saying there is a growing concern around safety.
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“What people don’t realize is, we don’t have the family units and unaccompanied minors approaching our area of the border. What we have is the criminal element that we’re seeing,” Johnson said.
“The people that Border Patrol is encountering out here have gang tattoos,” he continued. “My mother encountered two different groups on our ranch by herself [on] horseback last week, and they were wearing all camouflage.”
While Johnson’s mother got away fine, the New Mexico rancher noted that it can take Border Patrol up to an hour to respond to their calls – a response time that worries the husband and father to young children.
“So when I see all the news coverage, just being about unaccompanied minors and family units, people are forgetting and not realizing that what we’re dealing with out in these rural areas is a criminal element,” Johnson told Fox News. “And it affects the safety of not just our families, our business, but this stuff is going further into the country.”
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While migrant influxes at the southern border has been an issue for decades, Congress is yet again divided on how to address the migrant crisis.
Republicans have argued the problem is a result of President Biden’s reversal on his predecessor’s strick policies.
But Biden in turn, believes the crisis is more deeply rooted and needs to be addressed by preventing issues that prompt mass migration — most recently from the Northern Triangle, an area in Central America encompassing Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
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“I don’t understand how safety and security of not just us on the border, but the nation as a whole — how can that be politicized?” he asked. “Do the right thing, finish the border wall project, which is not just the wall, it’s the sensors, the lighting, the roads, finish all of it and secure the border and then overhaul the immigration system.”
“You know, many of these people do want to just come here and work,” he concluded. “Let’s fix our guest worker program and fix this issue.”