Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is fed up with Congress using immigration as a political football and not addressing the human and economic crisis at America’s border. Cox, who said he is passionate about immigration reform, called Congress “imbeciles” who “should all get fired.”
The remarks came during the governor’s monthly news conference on Thursday and after he was asked about strict immigration policies recently signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“We absolutely have to do more to secure the border. First and foremost, that is critical. We live in an ordered society, a society of laws, and that piece matters,” the governor explained, adding that he thinks the Biden administration “has done a terrible job of enforcing border security.”
Those poor security efforts are not just an issue President Joe Biden hasn’t addressed, Cox said, and other administrations have also failed. But it wasn’t solely on the White House to fix immigration, he said.
“Congress has abdicated their responsibility around immigration for the last 40 years. They punted every time. So it’s hard to blame any single administration when really this problem lies at the feet of Congress,” the governor responded to Telemundo reporter José Ángel Galavis, who had asked about DeSantis’ immigration policies.
Cox explained that he also supports fixing legal immigration, which, he said, will help the economy and ensure immigrants aren’t forced to enter the U.S. illegally through a “backdoor.”
“We do need more immigrants in our country,” Cox said, “we have so many job openings right now in the state of Utah and other places that cannot be filled.”
Immigration reform, Cox said, is an issue where he thinks Republicans and Democrats are aligned. But, growing more passionate during his two-minute-long response, Cox criticized Congress for neglecting its responsibility to address the country’s immigration crisis, and, instead, using the issue as a political cudgel.
“The Constitution is very clear that immigration is a federal issue. But states have to step in because these imbeciles in Congress can’t get their crap together to do something that everybody knows needs to be done, and that is to protect the border and to fix legal immigration,” Cox criticized. “And all they want to do is get reelected by pointing fingers at each other and they divide us and they do it on purpose, and it’s embarrassing, and they should all get fired.”
Earlier this month, DeSantis signed a bill aimed at restricting migrants working illegally in the U.S. The law ends a program that provides identification cards for undocumented immigrants and toughens penalties for individuals that bring migrants to the U.S., the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Unlike Cox, the Florida governor — who’s exploring a run for president — put the blame for the immigration crisis at the foot of the White House.
“This is something that is the responsibility of Joe Biden. This is a responsibility that he has defaulted on really from day one of his presidency,” DeSantis said at a news conference, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Obviously if we had a different administration it would be a lot easier to actually deal with the problem at its source.”
In February, Cox and Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb wrote a Washington Post op-ed that called on Congress to act on immigration. Utah, Cox said, was willing to sponsor immigrants for the open jobs in the state.
“To help us do our jobs as governors, we call on Congress to end its two-decade standoff on setting immigration policy — one of its most basic duties,” the governors wrote. “And, as leaders of states, we pledge to share the accountability. Though border security is a national concern, and a nonnegotiable requirement of national security in a world with drug cartels and terrorists, we believe that states should be able to sponsor whatever immigrants serve the needs of their communities.”
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