• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Biden and Trump make dueling trips to border

Biden and Trump make dueling trips to border

President Biden and former President Donald Trump made dueling trips to the southern border on Thursday as they sought to gain a political edge on the issue in their anticipated White House campaign rematch.

Biden traveled to Brownsville, Texas, where he met with Border Patrol agents and immigration enforcement officials on the banks of the Rio Grande. He laid out what he called a needed compromise border security measure.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was recently impeached by the Republican-led House of Representatives, said the visit is a working trip and not a chance to spar with Trump.

“This visit is focused on the work that we do, not the rhetoric of others,” Mayorkas told reporters. “The fact of the matter is that the only enduring solution is legislation. Congress needs to act.”

Trump, for his part, jetted into Eagle Pass, Texas, about 325 miles west of Brownsville, a small town that has become the poster child for surging border crossings.

“They’re pouring into our country and they’re bringing with them tremendous problems,” Trump said. “We’re going to take care of it.”

The dueling trips underline the growing salience of immigration and border security in the 2024 presidential race especially since Trump lobbied to kill the congressional compromise to rein in illegal migration with fresh funding and GOP-friendly policy shifts.

Before that dramatic development, Trump and Republicans had enjoyed a political advantage by trashing Biden as the architect of rising migrant crossings and what they characterize as an open-border policy.

Trump has also dialed up his anti-immigrant rhetoric in recent months, suggesting migrants are poisoning the blood of Americans in a phrase that historians say recalls Nazi Germany.

But Biden and his Democratic allies have started to fight back, accusing Republicans of refusing to take action to stem the tide of migrants because they prefer to use the crisis as a political pawn.

The compromise that Republicans killed would have tightened border security, given Biden power to block all crossings and dramatically increase funding for processing migrants.

The number of people who are illegally crossing the border with Mexico has been rising for years for a variety of reasons but mostly due to the strong economy and job market in the U.S. The arrival of migrants has impacted liberal cities such as New York City, which has been experiencing a migrant crisis these last two years.

The Biden administration has sought to tweak policy where it can to encourage asylum seekers to enter the country legally at ports of entry instead of on foot across the border.

Biden is considering executive actions to help discourage migrants from coming to the U.S. But many Democrats and pro-immigration advocates oppose such unilateral actions, saying Biden would open the door for abuse of the powers by future presidents.

Many executive actions would likely be challenged in court where they would face an uncertain future.

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