New Mexico rancher Russell Johnson urged lawmakers Saturday to “stop politicizing” the southern border and instead address America’s troubled immigration system.
In an interview with Fox News’ Eric Shawn, the fourth-generation New Mexico rancher explained that problems at the border exceed the number of migrant families crossing illegally, and said there is growing concern for safety.
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“What people don’t realize is that we don’t have the family units and unaccompanied minors approaching our border area. What we have is the criminal element that we are seeing,” Johnson said.
“The people the Border Patrol runs into here have gang tattoos,” he continued. “My mother found herself alone with two different groups on our ranch [on] 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 up to an hour for the Border Patrol to respond to her calls, a response time that worries the husband and father of young children.
“So when I see all the news coverage, just about unaccompanied minors and family units, people forget and don’t realize that what we are facing in these rural areas is a criminal element,” Johnson told Fox News . “And it not only affects the safety of our families, our business, but all this goes further in the country.”
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While the influx of migrants to the southern border has been a problem for decades, Congress is again divided on how to address the immigration crisis.
Republicans have argued that the problem is the result of President Biden’s reversal of his predecessor’s strict policies.
But Biden, in turn, believes the crisis is more deeply ingrained and must be addressed by preventing the problems that lead to mass migration, most recently from the Northern Triangle, an area in Central America that encompasses Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
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“I don’t understand how the security and safety not only of us at the border, but of the nation in general, how can that be politicized?” I ask. “Do the right thing, finish the border wall project, which is not just the wall, it is the sensors, the lighting, the roads, finish everything and secure the border and then check the immigration system.”
“You know, a lot of these people just want to come here and work,” he concluded. “Let’s fix our guest worker program and fix this problem.”