Trump, Biden to Make Dueling Border Trips on Thursday

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump both heading to the Texas border on Thursday. The competing trips come as record illegal crossings roil the 2024 election.

President Joe Biden will visit the southern border on Feb. 29, the White House announced, the same day that former President Donald Trump will go to Eagle Pass to highlight the worsening border crisis.

“On Thursday, President Biden will travel to Brownsville, Texas to meet with U.S. Border Patrol agents, law enforcement, and local leaders,” a White House official told reporters on Feb. 26.

“He will discuss the urgent need to pass the Senate bipartisan border security agreement, the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border in decades,” the official continued.

President Trump, meanwhile, is slated to be 300 miles away in Eagle Pass, Texas. His campaign took a swipe at President Biden’s simultaneous trip.

“Crooked Joe Biden has had three years to visit the border and fix the crisis he created,” Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

“Now Biden’s handlers are sending him there on the same day as President Trump’s publicly reported trip, not because they actually want to solve the problem, but because they know Biden is losing terribly. Biden’s last-minute, insincere attempt to chase President Trump to the border won’t cut it—Americans know Biden is single-handedly responsible for the worst immigration crisis in history and the ensuing Biden Migrant Crime Crisis affecting every community in our Country.”

The visit by President Biden, whose disapproval rating is more than 55 percent, comes during an ongoing crisis at the southern border in an election year.

Since Oct. 1, which is the start of the fiscal year, there have been 961,537 encounters on the border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. More than 7.25 million border encounters have occurred during the Biden presidency, according to CBP.

According to a Monmouth University poll, 76 percent of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the border. A CBS News poll last month showed that 68 percent of Americans disapprove of his response to the issue.

President Biden’s border visit comes as Congress has failed to pass border security measures, with most Republicans saying the proposals are inadequate.

The bipartisan border provisions—as part of a $118 billion package that also included foreign aid to Israel and Ukraine—consisted of emergency authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to shut down the border if an average of 4,000 daily encounters is reached over one week.

If average encounters reach 5,000 a day over the same period, then the DHS secretary would have been required to shut down the border.

The legislation also would have limited the president’s parole authority, a power that gives him the ability to allow more illegal immigrants into the country and raises the legal bar for the initial screening of asylum claims.

It also would have expedited the asylum processing time to six months from many years.

GOP Cites Problems

The package didn’t include a restoration of President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which many Republicans have told The Epoch Times is a must-have.

Congressional Republicans have said that border measures have to be included in any bill allocating foreign assistance to Kyiv and Jerusalem in addition to the Indo-Pacific.

“I can’t support a bill that doesn’t secure the border, provides taxpayer-funded lawyers to illegal immigrants, and gives billions to radical open borders groups. I’m a ‘no,’” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) wrote on social media platform X.

Mr. Daines called on President Biden, who supports the agreement, to use his existing executive authority to secure the border.

“Throughout this process, I said I was listening and hoping for a solution, but to my disappointment, this bill misses the mark,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) wrote.

“The terrible $118 billion supplemental worsens the border invasion, incentivizes illegal entry, sends more taxpayer dollars to Ukraine, and exacerbates our fiscal crisis,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), the chairman of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, wrote on X.

“Americans will see which Republicans are on their side based on who supports or opposes this disaster.”

The House GOP leadership—Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)—released a joint statement on Feb. 5 denouncing the bill.

“House Republicans oppose the Senate immigration bill because it fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal immigration,” they stated.

“Any consideration of this Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time. It is dead on arrival in the House,” they added. “We encourage the U.S. Senate to reject it.”

The Senate instead passed a $95 billion bill with the foreign assistance that was in the initial bill but without any border provisions.

Joseph Lord contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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