MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson says the US needs to do more to support European allies as the crisis in the Ukraine continues to destabilize.
Johnson is currently the ranking senator on the European Relations committee, and says he's taken several trips to the region to examine what's going on. Speaking on WSAU Feedback on Wednesday, Johnson says our NATO allies need to shore up their own defenses. "Make sure they at least honor their commitment to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on their OWN national defense. America's been asked to bear their burden for way too long."
He adds that shifting American forces in the area will also help ease tensions. "We need to have a more robust presence in places like Poland, the Baltic States. Again it's a demonstration of strength that has a greater likelihood of achieving peace."
Johnson also points to stronger energy policies to help project strength in the region. He says a more robust usage of American natural gas resources could help break Russian control on the market. "But that's not happening because we're showing the kind of weakness and lack of resolve where Vladimir Putin thinks he can achieve a larger status with impunity." He says the US needs to do more to export natural gas in the form of liquid natural gas and compressed natural gas.
Johnson also talked about immigration reform and says the Obama administration isn't doing enough to control illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. He quoted a Washington Times article that says Immigration and Customs Enforcement released several hundred immigrants in deportation proceedings knowing they had convictions. He said that's seriously destabilizing immigration policies Republicans are aiming to pass. "Fix our legal immigration system. We need to reduce all the incentives for illegal immigration, actually secure the border, and we do need to deal with the millions of people living in the shadows. But we certainly don't release criminals, murderers."