It took almost two years, but President Biden finally made his way to the southern border, where a surge of immigrants has been streaming across with his implicit invitation.
Bident spent all of four hours in El Paso, Texas, the epicenter of the crisis, on Sunday before traveling to Mexico.
Biden finally sees the border
The president met with Texas’ Republican governor Greg Abbott, a longtime critic of Biden’s handling of the border. Abbott handed Biden a letter that pinned the crisis squarely on the president.
Speaking to reporters, Abbott said Biden came “two years and about $20 billion too late.”
Biden walked along a section of border wall, inspected a port of entry and visited an immigration center during his short, quiet visit, which did not include a press briefing.
Pressure has been building on Biden to address the crisis. El Paso was forced to declare an emergency in December as the city struggled to cope with an influx of people, many of whom were left sleeping on the street.
El Paso officials began breaking up immigrant encampments before Biden’s visit, which led to speculation of a cover-up.
Asked what he learned from the tour, Biden said, “They need a lot of resources. We’re going to get it for them.”
Many are skeptical, of course, that the visit represents a meaningful effort to address the emergency. Republicans promptly dismissed Biden’s trip as a “photo-op.”
Republicans had long criticized Biden’s failure to see the border as evidence of his disinterest, or even of willful, malicious intent to flood the country with immigrants for partisan advantage.
Biden has insisted that the southern border is “secure,” pointing the finger at a “broken system” he says he inherited. He received backlash over a tweet Sunday claiming the border crisis “didn’t arise overnight.”
Our problems at the border didn’t arise overnight. And they won’t be solved overnight.
But, we can come together to fix this broken system.
We can secure the border and fix the immigration process to be orderly, fair, safe, and humane. pic.twitter.com/dtP6IAJZMR
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 9, 2023
In reality, illegal immigration has hit records on Biden’s watch, with over 4 million immigrants having crossed the border in the last two years alone.
In December, Biden asked the Supreme Court to end President Trump’s Title 42 border policy, a request which, if granted, could push the already overwhelmed immigration system to a breaking point.