March 25, 2023

NEVER ENOUGH: Now that President Biden visited the border, Republicans find new things to scream about

NEVER ENOUGH: Now that President Biden visited the border, Republicans find new things to scream about

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President Joe Biden made a historic trip to the border Sunday, visiting the city of El Paso, Texas which has seen a surge in migrant crossings at its ports of entry.

POTUS was greeted at the airport by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and the President met with the city’s mayor, Oscar Leeser, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D), and immigrant advocacy groups.

But this visit still wasn’t enough for Republicans–Governor Abbot in particular–who have spent the past two years criticizing Biden for not making the trip.

Abbott wasn’t invited to accompany President Biden on the rest of his four-hour visit, but wasted no time in playing performative and partisan politics for reporters with wild and baseless claims.

“He needs to step up and take swift action, including reimbursing the state of Texas toward the money we spent but providing more resources for federal government to do its job. Also this is nothing but for show unless he begins to enforce the immigration laws that already exist.” – Texas Tribune

The Republican governor handed Biden a letter during their brief encounter on the tarmac, demanding reimbursement for the money the governor’s administration has spent busing migrants across the country in a political stunt many have condemned as “inhumane,” and “cruel.”

“The president who caused the chaos at the border needed to be here. It just so happens he’s two years and about $20 billion too late,” the letter states.

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What isn’t mentioned in the letter is the use of money earmarked for disaster relief to bus migrants thousands of miles away, the billions his truck inspection stunt cost businesses, or the $2 billion it costs for the 10,000 National Guard troops tasked with protecting the ranches of wealthy South Texans – not the general constituency.

President Biden visited the Bridge of the Americas – also called the Cordova Bridge – which is a busy port of entry for both pedestrian and commercial traffic, and made an unannounced trip to a section of the border fence that surrounds a majority of the city.

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According to a spokesperson for the Biden Administration, the purpose of the President’s visit was to “assess border enforcement operations and meet with local elected officials and community leaders who have been important partners in managing the historic number of migrants fleeing political oppression and gang violence,” Texas Tribune wrote.

The surge in migrants fleeing poverty, violence, and oppressive regimes has been used to wage a political and culture war by fear-mongering right-wing politicians and pundits accusing the President of keeping open borders and encouraging mass immigration to the detriment of the United States.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Biden’s attempts to end the Trump-era Covid-19 policy, Title 42 – also known as “remain in Mexico” – came to a screeching halt after the Supreme Court ordered it to remain in place.

The policy was enacted less than three years ago to stem the spread of COVID and was not meant to be lasting immigration reform.

The Administration has negotiated a deal with Mexico to accept an additional 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela – with the U.S. allowing up to 30,000 migrants from the same countries to enter, live and work in the country legally for up to 24 months.

The President previously met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez-Obrador to discuss border solutions, including Mexico contributing $1.5 billion for electronic and technological advancements to shore up security along the southern border.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that 100 additional CBP agents have been sent to the El Paso area with plans to open a new migrant processing center in the city – capable of processing 1,000 migrants.

Some immigrant advocates like the executive director of El Paso’s Hope Border Institute, Dylan Corbett, have criticized the expansion of Title 42 to include Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Calling it a broken promise by the Biden Administration, Corbett said, “Rather than putting our country on a sure path to fully restoring asylum at the border, these new actions entrench a dangerous, ineffective, and inhumane policy.”

But the fight isn’t over.

The Administration’s hands are tied thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling, but hearings on the matter will begin in February.

“They need a lot of resources. We’re going to get it for them,” Biden said about his El Paso visit.

The issue of immigration has long been a political battleground between the Republican and Democratic parties.

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The GOP however, used to be on the side of championing those crossing our borders in search of a better life within them.

That sentiment has changed.

The Biden Administration is working diligently to confront the humanitarian crisis, but while the GOP is using stunts, President Biden is using compassion, empathy and diplomacy to get it done.

Original reporting by Uriel J. Garcia and Sneha Dey at The Texas Tribune.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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