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As President Donald Trump and Congress fail to reach a compromise on border security, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is expressing support for building a border wall while funding essential functions of the federal government.

As the government shutdown approached the three-week mark, already the third-longest in U.S. history, Trump on Tuesday used a nationally televised address to blame Democrats for the government shutdown because they would not accede to his demand for $5.7 billion to extend a U.S. southern border fence to stem what he described as a humanitarian and security crisis.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in an interview Wednesday with conservative radio host Jay Weber, said he supports the president’s request for a wall, and called Democrats hypocritical for opposing it while minimizing the issue of border security.

“If there was one thing that President Trump ran on, it was securing our border, keeping this nation safe, building a wall,” Johnson said. “We have no idea who’s coming across our porous southern border.”

He also urged Republicans to begin funding essential functions of the federal government, such as the Coast Guard and USDA food inspector positions. Johnson said he recently co-sponsored legislation that would ensure Coast Guard officials are paid.

Johnson has previously expressed support for extending the border wall. On Wednesday he argued that strengthening the barrier would help discourage migrants, many of them asylum seekers, from attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. He noted such migrants face hurdles on their journey, such as sexual assault.

“We’re incentivizing people taking those types of risks. That is not humane treatment,” he said.

Johnson has also critiqued the entire U.S. immigration system, pointing to the length of the adjudication and appeals process, along with the backlog of immigration cases, as essentially encouraging people to immigrate illegally.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, on social media after Trump’s speech voiced her opposition to the government shutdown and the president’s rhetoric surrounding it. She blamed Trump for continuing the shutdown over his inability to persuade Mexico to pay for the wall.

“The American people shouldn’t pay for this lie,” Baldwin wrote.

Baldwin, in a statement, said she supports passing legislation that would instead provide “smart and cost-effective” border security.

Immigrant rights groups, such as Wisconsin’s Voces de la Frontera, have called out Trump’s effort to extend the border wall as racist and wasteful.

Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz argued the president is denying people their right to seek asylum in the U.S. while holding hostage federal employees.

As of Wednesday evening, Trump and members of Congress failed to make progress on negotiations after Trump abruptly ended a bipartisan meeting while leaving open the possibility of declaring a national emergency on border security.

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(7) comments

wisconsinsquidly

Trump told the American people over 200 times during his 2016 campaign that MEXICO WOULD PAY FOR THIS WALL. Does Ron now support lying to the American electorate in order to get elected? I'm sure Ron would have supported Obama had he gone back on a campaign promise?!? Ron and Trump are lying hypocrites unfit for public service.

wisconsinsquidly

Ron Johnson spent the 2018 Fourth of July holiday in Russia. That's how a "real American" celebrates our nation's birthday. He also voted Trump "tax reform" which was a massive tax break for the rich and corporate America at the expense of average Americans. It exploded the deficit by $2 trillion....and I haven't heard of a single company moving jobs back to the US. It's fake news to say the Dems don't want secure borders...they do...but building a massively expensive wall (not to mention with no details released by Trump) is not the most intelligent or effective approach. The experts advise most illegals come through airports and drugs through shipping ports. The wall is simply to make us feel safer...but it's all a show. Wake up, Ron...start representing ALL your constituents instead of pandering to Trump and his shrinking base of uninformed and fearful supporters.

Tommy Duncan

Ron Johnson visited Russia with a group of 6 other senators to advocate American policy. "GOP senators visited Moscow on July 4, warned Russia against meddling in 2018 election" ----> Trump's tax reform has cut my middle class taxes. ----->Some companies moving jobs back to America: https://investorplace.com/2017/01/10-companies-bringing-jobs-back-to-america/ ----> Trump's wall cost represents about .001 of the federal budget.

peabody59

I'm so glad to see Ron Johnson is hitching his horse to the Trump circus wagon. This insures that when Trump goes down, so will he. It's been nice knowing you Ronnie...maybe you and Scottie can start your own super-PAC...Republicans Against Democracy.

Tommy Duncan

"Baldwin in a statement said she supports passing legislation that would instead provide "smart and cost-effective" border security." ---> What Baldwin and the Democrats want is the same window dressing we've seen for the last 30 years. They want a porous border that will supply low cost labor and new Democrat voters. They don't want an effective solution and they certainly don't want a permanent solution. A permanent solution would remove one of their favorite campaign issues.

capedcrusader

Baloney.

Jobaba

Who is Ron Johnson?

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