Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Trump and Biden collide in split-screen trips to the border with immigration in the spotlight

By 37ci3 Feb29,2024

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump plan to visit the southern border Thursday in what is expected to be a dramatic split-screen moment over an issue that has vexed administrations of both parties in the 2024 presidential campaign. decades: immigration.

This is Biden’s second trip to the border since taking office. His first visit was to El Paso in January 2023. This time, he plans to visit Brownsville, a border town in the Rio Grande Valley that has long felt the effects of migration.

“He wanted to show that it’s important to go down there and hear from Border Patrol agents and first responders,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a briefing Wednesday. A White House official said Biden will urge congressional Republicans to provide more funding for border security.

Still, critics of the administration point out that Biden is visiting Brownsville at a time when the worst consequences of the migrant influx have shifted elsewhere. According to Customs and Border Protection, a federal agency that includes the Border Patrol, more immigrants are now crossing other parts of the border, such as Arizona and Eagle Pass, Texas.

Texas National Guard soldiers block immigrants trying to cross razor wire
Texas National Guard soldiers block immigrants trying to cross razor wire after crossing the El Paso border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on January 31.John Moore/Getty Images file

Eagle Pass is where Trump will visit. He has visited the border many times before and announced his visit before the White House. Biden said he planned to go this week but didn’t know if his “good friend” would be there the same day. Two senior administration officials said the visit was timed to maximize its political impact, a week before his State of the Union address. Trump and “we welcome the split screen,” one official said.

Trump joked with Biden on a radio show this week: “Well, we learned how to get him out of his ass. I had to announce that I will land at the border.”

The White House insisted on Wednesday that Biden’s visit had already been scheduled.

“We can’t suddenly put something on the president’s schedule,” Jean-Pierre said when asked if Trump’s visit had prompted the White House announcement. “It takes time to do that.”

U.S. Border Patrol agents guard migrants crossing into Shelby Park as they wait to be picked up for processing in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Border Patrol agents guard migrants crossing into Shelby Park as they wait to be picked up for processing in Eagle Pass, Texas, on February 4.Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images

An NBC News poll from January 57% of registered voters said Trump would handle border security better, compared to 22% for Biden. According to the results of the survey, 48% of people said that they would believe that Biden would show a humane attitude to immigrants, and 31% said that they had the same opinion about Trump.

The Biden administration claims that House Republicans — at Trump’s urging — torpedoed a bipartisan bill that included $20 billion for border security. It passed the Senate and was approved by the Border Patrol. The White House said it would add 100 immigration judges, 1,500 Customs and Border Protection officers and 4,300 asylum officers, as well as more detention beds. It would also fund the installation of more screening machines to detect fentanyl at ports of entry.

But House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said the Senate’s version doesn’t go far enough to resolve the border crisis. Democrats accuse the GOP of refusing to compromise to keep immigration front and center during an election year to argue that Biden has not done enough to stem the flow of migrants.

Biden with the failure of Congress to act reviewed executive measures to tighten asylum rules. Migrant advocates and progressive Democrats urged him not to, arguing that making it harder for immigrants to claim asylum opens them up to dangerous conditions in Mexico.

Republicans insist that the Trump administration’s border policies have deterred illegal immigration and secured the border. Illegal crossings were lower during his tenure, but began to rise in late 2019 before the Covid pandemic. Before that, even Trump himself abandoned a particularly controversial tough immigration policy known as “zero tolerance” in 2017 that led to the forced separation of migrant families at the border.

When Biden takes office in 2021, he has promised to return to more “humane” immigration rules and immediately signed executive orders rolling back some Trump-era policies. In 2022, the Biden administration also repealed a rule known as “remain in Mexico” that required asylum seekers to cross the border while their claims were processed.

But the White House soon discovered that its policies were not stemming the flow of migrants once pandemic restrictions were lifted. Instead, record numbers of immigrants began arriving at the southern border. The Border Patrol reported 1,659,206 encounters with migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2021, surpassing previous highs of 1,643,679 in 2000 and 1,615,844 in 1986.

Trump and his supporters blamed what they saw as Biden’s dumb politics for the influx. The Biden administration has argued that migration is linked to other factors, including seasonal fluctuations, recent hurricanes in Central America and misinformation promoted by people smugglers.

Nevertheless, migrants continued to arrive. And it comes. Border towns like El Paso and Eagle Pass in Texas have been swamped by an unprecedented influx, at times straining local resources and prompting frantic calls for federal aid. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has fueled a border battle by ordering state troopers to patrol the border in defiance of the federal government’s demands. It also began transporting migrants to what the White House called sanctuary cities across the country in what the White House called a “political cascade.”

Since then, major cities like New York, Chicago and Denver have struggled to care for tens of thousands of incoming migrants. The stalled bipartisan border bill would include $1.4 billion for cities and states and expedited work permits for eligible immigrants, the White House said.

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By 37ci3

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