For all of his international travel over his 50 years in public service, Biden has not spent much time at the U.S.-Mexico border. The only visit that the White House could point to was Biden’s drive by the border while he was campaigning for president in 2008.
In a sign of the deep tensions over illegal immigration, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, handed Biden a letter upon his arrival in the state that said the “chaos” at the border was a “direct result” of the president’s failure to enforce federal laws.
Immigration for years has been a serious point of conflict, exposing the dysfunction of the U.S. system.
Biden was spending just a few hours in the city, which is currently the biggest pathway for illegal immigrants, in large part due to hordes of Nicaraguans rushing the border.
Bien also was to visit the El Paso County Migrant Services Center.
Biden’s announcement on border security and his visit to the border are aimed in part at quelling the political noise and blunting the impact of upcoming investigations into immigration promised by House Republicans.
The numbers of illegal crossings of the U.S.-Mexico border have risen dramatically during Biden’s first two years in office. There were more than 2.38 million stops during the year that ended Sept. 30, the first time the number topped 2 million.
The administration has struggled to clamp down on crossings, reluctant to take hard-line measures that would resemble those of former President Donald Trump’s administration.
President Trump, who made hardening immigration a signature issue, traveled to the border several times. During one visit, he crammed into a small border station to inspect cash and drugs confiscated by agents.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press