Biden Makes First Border Visit as President Amid Migrant Crisis

Following relentless calls from Republicans who believe this trip was way overdue, President Joe Biden visited the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday to inspect part of it– the first time since he took office two years ago.

Upon arriving, his motorcade drove along a highway that parallels the Rio Grande and the border separating the US and Mexico with an iron-slatted fence with barbed wire and made a quick stop, talking for several minutes with officers in green uniforms and responding to a few questions from reporters, promising to do whatever is needed and provide every resource to help with the migrant crisis in the area.

During his later visit to a migrant processing center, Biden discussed the work underway there with several different workers from that facility but reportedly didn’t meet with any of the migrants.

During his meeting with border authorities, Biden also discussed other burning topics, including the increased smuggling of synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.

Biden’s trip to the border – a brief stopover before his visit to Mexico City where he’ll join the leaders of Mexico and Canada for a North American leaders’ summit on Monday and Tuesday – comes as his administration wrestles with a growing number of undocumented migrants that are overwhelming both federal and local resources.

Immigration will probably take the center stage in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election so by visiting El Paso after calling on Congress to overhaul the US immigration system to meet current needs, Biden tried to seize on an issue that’s been a political liability for his administration.

The Democrats, which are seeking to find legal pathways for people to come to the United States, and the Republicans, which take a tougher line by detaining immigrants as was seen under the Trump administration, take a different tack on immigration, publicly, at least.

Now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives and have the power to launch investigations and hold hearings on the issue, that is even more likely, especially in light of the criticism that even some border-district Democrats in Congress Democratic mayors conveyed toward Biden for his failure to address record levels of border crossings.

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