Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump in his reelection bid this year, told Breitbart News on Saturday that he believes the United States needs to “beef up” the E-Verify system and “make that mandatory.”

“We need to do a couple things: We need to beef up the E-Verify system and make that mandatory,” Boozman said. “We need to make it such that we do hold employers accountable — they don’t need to be the immigration agents. But certainly, keep the Remain in Mexico policy. And so importantly, we need to announce to the world that we’re back to keeping folks out that don’t belong here, and securing the border, and making it such that it’s going to be very difficult if you try.”

Boozman’s comments came during an in-depth interview on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, during which he recounted his history of leading on the issue of immigration. Way back in April 2013, before many other senators had even taken a position on the then-forthcoming “Gang of Eight” amnesty plan, Boozman publicly came out against the proposal, and his office told Breitbart News he was opposed to it. His public opposition — he was joined in those early days by just a handful of others — ran counter to the conventional wisdom and career political class in Washington, DC.

John Moore/Getty Images

Immigrant men from many countries are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border on December 07, 2021, in Yuma, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Republican National Committee (RNC) had just published an “autopsy” of the 2012 election, surmising that failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election because Republicans needed to support open borders immigration policies. Romney is now a U.S. Senator from Utah but, then, was the former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 GOP presidential nominee who had just lost to now-former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, the year before. Republicans were desperate to figure out a path forward, and many embraced the push for amnesty, which culminated in the Gang of Eight amnesty bill — which later passed the U.S. Senate with 14 GOP votes.

But, despite eventually getting it through the then-Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate, the bill never got consideration in the GOP-controlled U.S. House. Therefore, the legislation died and amnesty was not enacted into federal law in 2013 or 2014 — and that is, in large part, thanks to the few courageous voices like Boozman who fought it in the lead-up to Trump’s rise into the White House.

“My thing is amnesty rewards behavior that you don’t want,” Boozman told Breitbart News when asked why he came out in opposition to the plan then. “It was kind of like, ‘let’s do amnesty and then we’ll secure the border at a later date or promise to do this.’ That’s essentially what happened with President Reagan. He got snookered into the same thing where you have the amnesty provision going forward, but the border never gets secured. If you don’t secure the border, then you’re right back in the same situation.”

Boozman’s opposition to the Gang of Eight amnesty plan — along with work by then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rand Paul (R-KY) to fight it as well as pushes from many House members like then-Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), now a U.S. Senator from Arkansas — helped sink the plan. That led to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, when the now-former president shattered the political consultant vision of open borders by openly campaigning for a wall along the U.S. border and strict immigration enforcement.

Trump’s electoral success in 2016, and later his policy successes aimed at curbing illegal immigration — he nearly finished building the wall in his first term and significantly slowed the flow of illegal immigration through things like the Remain in Mexico policy and the Migrant Protection Protocols more broadly — proved politically popular as well. Republicans party-wide have generally, with rare exception, embraced that vision that Trump championed and was first laid out by those few voices fighting the Gang of Eight amnesty plan back in the day. Of those 14 Republicans who voted for the Gang of Eight amnesty, nine are no longer in the U.S. Senate just nine years later — and only five remain. Of those remaining five, it is safe to say at least two, probably three, of them would never vote for that bill again — and maybe the other two would reconsider as well.

“So, for many, many reasons, I was adamantly opposed [to the Gang of Eight] and you’re right — it has moved in the right direction,” Boozman said. “President Trump not only campaigned on it, but unlike so many others, he actually did something about it. When he got to office, he looked at the areas that needed to be beefed up on the border through additional fencing and electronic sensors and did a good job of that. And he instituted the Remain in Mexico policy so that, if you were seeking asylum, you knew you weren’t going to be in the United States waiting for the backlog of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people and, again, allowing you to be here without any problem.”

To this day, Boozman continues to champion the voices of Americans forgotten by the political elites on immigration policy. He recently released a campaign ad in which a family member of someone killed years ago by an illegal alien — an Angel Family — endorsed his reelection. Asked about why he focuses on this side of the issue, Boozman told Breitbart News that it humanizes victims of crimes that should not happen.

“It’s one thing if you say it, it’s another thing if I say it in the situations where we’re at, but when you’ve got a lady who’s so compelling and just tells her story and the tragedy that fell upon her family,” Boozman said. “This simply didn’t need to happen. That’s something that does grip the hearts of the American public and really does humanize — we can look at statistics, we can talk about two million people, we can talk about crimes committed. Certainly, everybody that comes over here doesn’t commit crimes, but you get in a situation now where the Biden administration is so crazy in the sense that they won’t deport anybody. Her message is compelling; I think it puts a real face on what we’re facing. Because of that, it’s something that the average person can relate to, and it’s something I think is very effective in telling the message.”


Since President Joe Biden, another Democrat, came to the White House, he has undone much of Trump’s popular and effective immigration crackdown measures — which Boozman said has effectively rolled out the red carpet to the rest of the world’s migrants to come here.

“The other thing that was so important was he [Trump] essentially said to the world, ‘look, the border is closed and we’re going to do everything we can to protect our border,’ unlike President Biden when he got in, when he got rid of the Remain in Mexico policy and essentially said, ‘come on down, and if you can get here, you’re welcome to stay,’” Boozman said. “So, it’s a tremendous difference in approach, but as a result right now, there were two million people last year and we’re on track to be in that direction this year. If you’re apprehending two million people, there’s no telling how many people in addition to that get through because there’s a lot of people getting through because the Border Patrol agents are so busy taking care of unaccompanied minors and all those kinds of things. So, the other thing too — I’ve been to the border so many times, these are good people down there. They’re working so hard and they’re discouraged. When they had the listening sessions with the brass down from Homeland Security, they booed them and they got in shouting matches. They’re as discouraged as the rest of us. We could talk about all the crazy things they’re doing now too. $450,000 per illegal immigrant? The idea they can use their arrest warrants as documents to allow them to fly? You can’t make this stuff up.”

In GOP primaries from coast to coast this year, voters continually say they are looking for fighters — and, more importantly, candidates of their word. It’s moments like the Gang of Eight plan push that truly test whether a senator is with the voters who sent them to office or whether they will cave to special interests lobbying for problem-laden legislative proposals like that. Asked about this pressure, Boozman said the calculation is very simple for him.

“I was under a lot of pressure, just like you come under pressure, but my guiding thing — and I campaigned on this, and I actually do what President Trump did, which is when I campaigned on something, I do follow through,” Boozman said. “This is a national security issue. It was then. It is now. But my things were: You need to secure the border — No amnesty. English as the official language. These are simple things, simple truths, that we simply have to do and we didn’t do, so we’re in the situation we are now. The other thing we have to remember is the border is secure — on the Mexican side — because the cartels know everybody that crosses, and if you don’t pay them a portion, you don’t get across. That’s my thing is this is a very, very important issue. It was important to the people of Arkansas back then and it is now. It truly is a national security issue. We were able to ultimately prevail, but as you say, it was a very difficult time for a while. You talk about these things, and as you said, the facts weren’t really out. You get the facts out and you explain to people the ramifications of this and that’s how you prevent bad things from happening. I think you get judged on two things — your work, and there’s some things we need to get done, and then, very importantly, we need to keep bad things from happening. That’s particularly important with this administration.”

Trump clearly recognized in Boozman someone who was ideologically aligned and willing to fight for these priorities as Boozman was one of if not the first major endorsement he made in the 2022 cycle. On March 8, 2021, more than 15 months before Boozman’s primary, Trump endorsed the Arkansas senator, saying in a statement that Boozman is “a great fighter for the people of Arkansas.”

“He is tough on Crime, strong on the Border, a great supporter of our Military and our Vets, and fights for our farmers every day,” Trump said of Boozman. “He supports our Second Amendment and has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump bows his head in prayer while attending the National Prayer Breakfast February 2, 2017, in Washington, DC. Also pictured is Sen. John Boozman (R-AR). (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

When Biden came into the White House, he almost immediately undid everything Trump had in place and, as a result, more than two million migrants have streamed into the United States since he took the Oath of Office. Boozman thinks the solution is very simple: Reimplement Trump’s policies and crack down on employers hiring illegal aliens.

“Biden did all of the things you said and then the other thing was he essentially said to the world, ‘come on over because we’re not doing these things and it’s very easy to get into the United States,’” Boozman said. “We have to reinstate those policies that President Trump used very, very effectively. The Remain in Mexico policy, that was a new thing. He pressured the Mexican government into cooperating. We’re a great country; we’ve got levers we can pull to make people cooperate. He did that and it made a huge difference. So we’ve got to do those things, and again at some point, we’ve got to hold employers accountable. If the work is not here, if they don’t have jobs, then they’re not going to come. The other side of this, for those that are trying to take care of their families, that are impoverished in the rest of the world, you can certainly understand why they want to be here, but we are a nation of laws. You have to do this right. The people that resent this the most are the people that worked through the system, did everything right, and it might have taken five or ten years to work through the process. But again, I think that’s how you do it: Hold employers accountable and then no amnesty, and kind of go down that path.”

Not only is the Trump vision for immigration good policy, Boozman says, but it is also good politics for Republicans. Republicans have made historic gains in recent elections, not just with white working-class voters but also with key minority groups like Hispanic and black voters — and all signs point to continued GOP growth in those communities as a result of this America First vision. In fact, a Wall Street Journal survey published last week shows the GOP leading Democrats by nine percent with Hispanic voters and more than doubling support in the black community since late last year as well.

“I agree totally — if you look at President Trump’s policies, you had the best economy in 50 years,” Boozman said. “Lowering regulations, lowering taxes, real growth in wages amongst the groups that you’re talking about, and real growth in employment. That’s what everyone wants. If you don’t have a job, if you can’t make a living wage, everything else is pretty unimportant. He did a tremendous job, and we’re seeing the contrast in that now with the mess we’re in regarding this horrific inflation and a poor economy. What they want to do now is just add gasoline to the flames with this massive spending bill — which I think this is what killed it with the help of the American people, but on the other hand, it just still won’t go away. You’re right, these policies are simple truths. They work and really do produce good results.”


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