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Biden says the answer is more money on first border visit

President Biden took a walk along the border wall in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday for the first time up close to the border that has plagued his administration with unprecedented chaos for two years, and said the solution was more money.

Accompanied by Border Patrol agents, Biden reviewed the 18-foot barrier that separates the United States from Mexico. The project started in his 1990s, but gained prominence under his predecessor, former President Trump.

Biden also visited the El Paso border crossing to watch officers train on how to sniff out drugs and illegal immigrants being driven into the United States.

When asked what he had learned about defending the border, Mr. Biden said it was about money.

“They need a lot of resources. We’re going to get it for them,” he told reporters.

After the wall was built, Mr. Biden visited the Immigration Welcome Center. Here, local governments and charities work to make life easier for those detained and released by the Department of Homeland Security.

The president asked the facility’s operators what they needed “if they could wave a cane.”

They said money too.

Biden’s visit came three days after he announced his order keeping strategy.

His new plan applies a carrot and stick approach, providing a new route to the United States for 30,000 immigrants a month from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua, but eliminating those who do not come through that new route. They threaten to banish them immediately.

Bringing these immigrants back to Mexico pulls a page directly from Trump’s strategy.

The new strategy will finally give Biden some answers and pave the way for him to finally visit the border after two years of proposals by Republicans.

Those Republican lawmakers weren’t softening.

In fact, Texas Governor Greg Abbott greeted Mr. Biden at the base of Air Force One and told the president about how long it took Mr. Biden to get there, the itinerary on the ground, and his overall approach to the border. sent a letter denouncing the and immigration.

“Your visit to the southern border with Mexico today is less than $20 billion, two years too late,” Abbott, a Republican, wrote in a letter to the Democratic president.

“Even the cities you visited disinfected the immigrant camps that occupied downtown El Paso because your administration wants to protect you from the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis. This turmoil is a direct result of not enforcing the immigration laws enacted by Congress,” he said.

The governor asked Biden to resume building the border wall, but the president canceled it on his first day in office. He also urged Biden to designate smuggling cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.

Abbott also said Biden’s new parole program was illegal.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said Mr. Biden stepped out of his comfort zone of being happy to deal with border officials and talking to immigrant rights advocates, instead being overwhelmed by the surge in illegal immigration to a small small town. He said he should have visited the community.

“If President Biden wants to get serious about the crisis his administration has created, he will visit McAllen, Eagle Pass, Del Rio and Laredo to talk to crime-torn communities, ranchers who have found dead bodies on their land, and Border Patrol agents. People who are overwhelmed, families who have lost loved ones to cross-border drug trafficking,” Cruz said in a statement.

The president has been hailed by former allies of the political left, with civil rights groups and immigration activists accusing him of adopting Trump-style solutions.

They argued that only wealthier and well-connected immigrants could take advantage of the new parole program.

They also said pushing migrants back into Mexico would make them more vulnerable to abuse and deny them the opportunity to claim protection in the United States.

“These reckless policy decisions will cause horrific human suffering and leave a lasting stain on the president’s legacy,” said Melissa Crow, chief litigator for the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies.

The administration has argued that its strategy works, and El Paso is proof of that.

The company tried a carrot-and-stick approach to the Venezuelan migrants who flooded the El Paso area late last year.

The administration has also redeployed personnel handling immigration, capturing and releasing some and deporting others more quickly.

According to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas, who was on Air Force One with Biden, about 2,000 illegal crossings were being made each day in the region in mid-December. He said the number had been cut to about 700 a day.

Biden’s request for additional funding on Sunday is part of his challenge to Congress.

He accused Republicans of refusing to consider a bill to legalize illegal immigration already in the U.S., saying the law was needed to clear the slate and start fresh immigration enforcement. Stated.

In a speech last week, Mr. Biden also said Republican lawmakers had blocked Mr. Biden’s demands for billions of dollars in new funding to build the border.

That money, requested by Biden as part of the 2023 appropriations bill Congress worked on last month, would have been directed toward a faster catch-and-release of illegal immigrants.

Republicans say the solution to the border is not more openings, but faster removals and tighter lockdowns to prevent people from arriving.

Biden won approval for funding to hire hundreds more Border Patrol agents in a 2023 bill. Biden says the answer is more money on first border visit

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