Trump to Visit Border Town, Spotlighting Illegal Immigration Crisis

Janice Hisle
By Janice Hisle
February 29, 2024Donald Trump
Trump to Visit Border Town, Spotlighting Illegal Immigration Crisis
Former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 24, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

LAREDO, Texas—Former President Donald Trump is coming to Eagle Pass, a Texas border town of about 30,000 residents that has been inundated by illegal immigrants coming from Mexico­. The former president’s visit on Thursday will draw even more attention to a town that has become a flashpoint in federal and state authorities’ tug-of-war over border enforcement.

Meanwhile, on the same day, President Biden will give remarks in Brownsville, about 300 miles away from Eagle Pass. That border town at Texas’s southern tip, home to about 200,000 people, has seen a decline in illegal border crossings in recent months.

The visits highlight the immigration crisis as a key issue in the 2024 presidential race, expected to be a rematch between the former president and the incumbent. Their southern border trips come in the wake of record-breaking surges in illegal immigration—a problem that is overwhelming communities and government agencies in various cities nationwide.

Agents have arrested more than 2 million illegal border-crossers during each of the past two years; in contrast, that number stayed below 1 million per year throughout President Trump’s term in office.

In advance of his border visit, President Trump released a video message: “Under my leadership, we had the most secure border in U.S. history by far. We replaced ‘catch-and-release’ with ‘detain-and-deport.’” But President Biden “terminated every successful border policy,” President Trump said, including “Remain in Mexico,” which required asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases were pending with U.S. immigration officials.

President Trump has repeatedly pledged to launch an unprecedented deportation operation as part of a multi-pronged effort to thwart illegal immigration under a second Trump administration.

Alison Anderson, a mother of three who lives near Eagle Pass, is resentful that President Biden has avoided border visits, unlike President Trump, who visited frequently during his presidency. This Thursday’s visit marks only the second time that President Biden has visited the southern border since he took office; he made a stop in El Paso in January 2023.

“It’s a joke for him to come here three and a half years into the border crisis that he created himself,” she told The Epoch Times.

When asked about President Biden’s call for Congress to give him more funding and more authority to address the border, Ms. Anderson was not impressed.

“This is his mess,” she said, “and he needs to own it.”

In contrast, Ms. Anderson sees President Trump’s visit in a positive light. “We already know what he is capable of doing with the border,” she said, referring to the policies he implemented during his term. Ms. Anderson is confident that, if he regains the presidency, he will fulfill his pledge to reinstitute border-enforcement policies.

Ms. Anderson said she and other residents are looking for relief from a litany of problems, including “convicted rapists illegally cutting through their properties … illegals trying to break into their home … trying to steal their vehicle … trying to come up to their little girls at night.”

“People are fed-up in border communities,” she said. “We’re tired of it.”

But some lifelong residents of Laredo, a border town of about 256,000 people about halfway between Eagle Pass and Brownsville, said that illegal immigration has always been an accepted part of life for them.

“It’s just that right now, the focus is there,” said Alejandra Lightner, 48, as she and her friend, Rosa Montante, 59, sat on a bench in Laredo’s North Central Park, feeding stray cats.

The two women said that some people appreciate being able to employ illegal immigrants to do yard work or house-cleaning at reduced rates. So, in that way, people are benefiting from illegal immigration.

A group crosses a road on the way to Nuevo Laredo, with the intention of entering the United States, in a file photograph. (Omar Torres/AFP via Getty Images)

Ms. Anderson bristles at that notion. “This isn’t about cheap labor. This is about our safety and our security and legal immigration, not breaking our laws to come into the United States,” she said.

Ms. Lightner did say that she was disappointed that President Biden has “basically permitted” a “massive influx” of illegal immigrants.

Still, both she and Ms. Montante said they are unwilling to vote for President Trump. They dislike several things about him, including the lewd remarks he made in a 2005 recorded conversation, which surfaced during the 2016 presidential race.

But Marisa Dancause, a woman walking two dogs with her husband, said it’s more important to consider what actions President Trump has taken to address illegal immigration. “We all support what he’s doing because it should be done the right way. The border should be protected. Not everybody should be allowed to come,” said Ms. Dancause, noting that her mother is Mexican.

“I think that people should be welcome, if they apply appropriately, and if they’re properly vetted, if you have background checks, and they come in here to be productive citizens,” she said.

Her family members who still live in Mexico agree with President Trump’s contention that “no country can afford to take in millions and millions and millions of people,” Ms. Dancause said. “It’s impossible for a country to afford that.

By visiting Eagle Pass, “people should see that he cares about the southern border,” she said. “I think that it’s great, because he’s informing people of what he wants to do for our country.”

Charlotte Cuthbertson and The Associated Press contributed.

From The Epoch Times

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