Biden calls on Trump to unblock migrant plan during dueling border visits

TEXAS: U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday called on Donald Trump to help unblock a plan languishing in Congress to cut migrant crossings as the pair took part in dueling visits to the border over a top issue ahead of November’s election.

Biden was in the town of Brownsville, Texas, across the Rio Grande river from Mexico, where he criticized Republicans for rejecting a bipartisan effort to toughen immigration rules after Trump told them not to pass it and give the president a win.

“Here’s what I would say to Mr Trump: Instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation, join me, or I’ll join you, in telling the Congress to pass this bipartisan security bill,” he said, while also warning he wanted people to know the cause of the inaction.

After being briefed by border patrol agents and others on the ground, Biden said they “desperately need more resources.”

Trump also met with local officials as well as Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, at the Rio Grande before speaking at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, where border-crossers have posed a major problem for authorities in recent months.

“This is a Biden invasion over the past three years,” Trump said, citing crimes committed by migrants and referring to the issue at the border as a “war,” in the latest examples of the increasingly inflammatory language he has used in recent months.

Trump pledged to bring back policies in place during his term in office, including the “Remain in Mexico” plan that required some migrants to wait in Mexico for the outcome of their U.S. immigration cases.

An aerial view shows a group of migrants illegally climbing up wire fences at the border despite the heightened security in Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S., February 28, 2024. /CFP

An aerial view shows a group of migrants illegally climbing up wire fences at the border despite the heightened security in Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S., February 28, 2024. /CFP

Biden took office in 2021 promising to reverse the hardline immigration policies of Trump, who was in office from 2017 to early 2021, but has since toughened his own approach.

Under pressure from Republicans who accuse him of failing to control the border, Biden called on Congress last year to provide more enforcement funding and said he would “shut down the border” if given new authority to turn back migrants.

The White House is also considering using executive authority to deny more migrants asylum at the border, a source familiar with the matter has said.

Republicans have said Biden could better enforce existing laws and take new executive action without the need for Congress to approve it.

A Reuters-Ipsos poll from January 31 found rising concern among Americans about immigration, with 17 percent of respondents listing it as the most important problem facing the U.S. today, up sharply from 11 percent in December.

It was the top concern of Republican respondents, with 36 percent citing it as their main worry, above the 29 percent who cited the economy.

The number of migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally hit a monthly record of 250,000 in December but dropped by half in January, a trend U.S. officials attribute to increased Mexican enforcement and seasonal trends.

A federal judge in Texas on Thursday blocked the state’s new law giving officials broad powers to arrest, prosecute and order the removal of people who illegally cross the border.

Abbott has deployed thousands of National Guard troops and laid concertina wire and river buoys to deter illegal immigration through a program called Operation Lone Star.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Canada sacks dozens of Indian staffers working at its diplomatic missions...

NEW DELHI: Ties between Canada and India have deteriorated further as the former has dismissed from service dozens of Indian staffers working at its...