2016-0901 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“You are going to need better fencing in certain areas. I don’t think we need a 1,700-mile wall, but we can utilize technology. We probably need more boots on the ground.”
2016-1209 Washington Examiner
“In terms of federal spending, it’s not going to be that expensive and if President Trump when he becomes president is talking about an infrastructure program, well this would be a shovel ready project.”
“It’s what we had to do. There is no doubt about it. We just had a hearing about a month ago where we had the chief of Border Patrol and the deputy chief of border patrol and I just asked them point blank, do we have enough fencing, no. does fencing work, yes. Should we build more, yes. Fencing actually works. Now you have to worry about tunnels and other situations on our southern border…but we have to secure our border, that’s what this President ran on and personally glad to see he is starting to work on it right away… we have never committed on a bi-partisan fashion to secure our border, we finally have a president committed to doing so we are starting to move on it.”
CUOMO: You were in Israel. You say there’s a lesson about wall and border security that you learned there that we need to take back here.
JOHNSON: Israel was being, you know, had a real problem with illegal immigrants coming in from the southern border, about 16,000 in one year.
In two years, they constructed 143-mile fence, about $2.9 million per mile, and it cut that illegal immigration rate from about 16,000 to I think 18. Cut it by 99 percent.
Fencing walls work. And so we need to learn the lessons from Israel. They are under a constant state of threat. Threat of terrorism. They’ve dealt with it pretty effectively. We need to learn those lessons.
CUOMO: Do you think it was just the wall that they put up, or do you think it was all the attendant changes they made into screening and their opportunities that they provided for people who were coming across to try to limit the need to sneak in?
JOHNSON: Well, on the southern border it was the fence. Within the whole of Israel, they’ve done all kinds of things in terms of security, cyber security, at their airports, all kinds of different layered security measures. We need to do the same thing here.
But fencing and walls work, particularly when they’re constructed in the right areas and in the right way.
2017-0308 Hugh Hewitt
HH: And in Homeland Security, you’re working with Secretary Kelly, obviously. Mick Mulvaney told me the cost of the wall is between $8 and $24 million dollars per mile. Do you still support the construction of the wall, Ron Johnson?
RJ: Well again, I was in Israel, and they put up their fence, a pretty effective fence, for $2.9 million dollars. So you know, again, you’ve got to buy the land. There are additional costs involved in that, but I’d be happy to talk with OMB Director Mulvaney and see what his cost calculations are versus the Israelis.
HH: Yeah, it just seemed to me out of nowhere to come up with that kind of a number, and you’re a businessman. It just seemed to me to be crazy.
RJ: Well, again, President Trump was in the construction business. I’ve got a feeling he’s got a good way to negotiate a good deal on construction. So hopefully, that’s the case.
2017-0406 The Washington Times
“I have always thought the wall was a metaphor for securing the border, and I think it has just been incredibly important that this president, finally we have an administration that has committed themselves to securing the border in whatever shape and form that takes.”
“Yes, we do need better barriers, we need better fencing, we have had border patrol deputies and chiefs tell us fencing works we need more of it, but I think we are going to do this in a thoughtful manner.”
2017-0803 The Washington Post
[Johnson signed on to Cornyn’s bill authorizing $15 billion over 4 years for border security infrstructure including a potential wall system …]
2018-0730 Face the Nation
MARGARET BRENNAN: – … Should we expect a September shutdown?
SEN JOHNSON: Let’s hope not. I think hopefully most of the appropriation bills will actually be passed a little more-a little better prioritization of spending. So I certainly don’t like playing shut down politics.
2018-1126 Washington Examiner
“It’s one of the things we have to do. We need better barriers. Where we have a really good border wall, it actually works. But we need to fix all of it.”
2019-0109 Jay Weber (Wisconsin State Journal)
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.