Speaking at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Georgia Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson claimed Republicans “savor” the border crisis and seek to “get back to slavery,” and bemoaned the continued “assault on the concept of immigration” into the United States.
“I think my friends on the other side of the aisle like to see what they object to so vociferously,” he stated. “They like to see folks lined up at the border waiting to get into this country simply so that they can work, and the only route that they have to get in is to present themselves lawfully at the border and request asylum. That’s the only pathway available to them.”
Instead, Johnson pushed for “comprehensive reform that would allow people to apply for lawful entry in the countries where they reside, which they are trying to leave so that they can create some economic opportunity for themselves and their families.”
According to Johnson, Republicans oppose such reforms because they “like to see [migrants] lined up at the border because they know that that’s a stream of labor ready to be exploited, with cheap, if any, compensation.”
“I mean, if you could get back to slavery you would gladly do so, but if you could pay people a dollar an hour you would settle for that,” he stated. “And that’s the race to the bottom that we have with immigrants lined up at the border trying to get in to go to work.”
“And my Republican friends talk about how they don’t like that, how it’s a crisis, but yet they savor it,” he added, “because they know that it means cheap labor for the companies that they represent and that support them with campaign contributions coming here.”
His comments quickly drew backlash.
“The wise sage of the House,” mocked Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher.
Radio host Pamela Furr called Johson’s remarks the “most asinine” she had “ever heard.”
“The fact that GA keeps voting this guy in is a commentary to how disconnected the voters there must be,” wrote talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo.
“This is another race baiting pandering Democrat who conveniently leaves out the fact that it was the Democratic Administration that opened the border and created this mess. And that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Friendly reminder [Rep. Hank Johnson], Democrats were the party of slavery and the KKK, and continue to be to this day,” another wrote. “No amount of hogwash you spew changes that fact.”