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Then-Vice President Biden, Jeh Johnson and then-President Obama. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) urged President Biden on Friday to name Obama-era Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to a special role focused on dealing with migration at the border.

Why it matters: Republicans have seized on the spike in border crossings as one of their most consistent criticisms of the Biden administration. Vice President Kamala Harris had previously been tasked with addressing the migrant surge and its root causes.

  • Although Cuellar supports Biden, he has been one of the few Democrats to consistently sound the alarm on overwhelmed border agency resources and the impact on his border district.
  • The two sent a letter to Biden asking him to create the position and appoint Johnson. "We've had border czars in the past," Cuellar said at a press briefing Friday

What they're saying: "[W]e request that you immediately create a special executive position vested with the authority to implement federal policies which prioritize the health and safety of U.S. communities at the southern border," the Graham and Cueller wrote in the letter.

  • "Jeh Johnson carries an exceptional bipartisan reputation for pragmatic approaches to complex border security and immigration challenges."

Between the lines: Neither Cuellar nor Graham have discussed their proposition with Johnson or know if he would be interested in the job. Cuellar told reporters that they would accept someone with similar credentials.

  • Graham entered the press room wearing a mask that read "mask up the border," and described Cuellar's district as "literally under siege." Graham also said that while he believes comprehensive immigration reform is needed, the border needs to be secured first.
  • Cuellar emphasized there are big problems at the border based on his conversations with people on the ground in his district.

What to watch: In response to a question from Axios, Graham said during the presser that he would support a supplemental bill to provide additional funds for government agencies caring for the high number of migrants.

  • "Henry, if you want to work on a supplemental, count me in," he told Cuellar, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee.

Go deeper

Aug 25, 2021 - Health

J&J says its COVID booster significantly increases antibodies

Vials and syringes of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are displayed. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine offers a significant increase in antibodies, the company announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: People who received a booster shot six to eight months after their first J&J dose saw "a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies, nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination," J&J said.

GOP Rep. Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) announced his retirement on Thursday, declining to run against a Trump-backed primary challenger in 2022.

Why it matters: Gonzalez has suffered politically since siding with House Democrats to impeach the 45th president after the Capitol riot.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.