Miles apart, Biden and Trump tour U.S.-Mexico border highlighting immigration as an election issue

U.S. President Joe Biden and likely Republican challenger Donald Trump walked the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on February 29, duelling trips underscoring how important immigration has become for the 2024 election and how much each man wants to use it to his advantage.

Each chose an optimal location to make his points, and their schedules were remarkably similar. They each got a briefing on operations and issues, walked along the border and gave remarks that overlapped. But that’s where the comparisons ended.

Blame game

Mr. Biden, who sought to spotlight how Republicans tanked a bipartisan border security deal on Mr. Trump’s orders, went to the Rio Grande Valley city of Brownsville. For nine years, this was the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, but they have dropped sharply in recent months.

President Joe Biden talks with the U.S. Border Patrol, as he looks over the southern border on Feb. 29, 2024, in Brownsville, Texas, along the Rio Grande.
| Photo Credit:

The president walked a quiet stretch of the border along the Rio Grande, and received a lengthy operations briefing from Homeland Security agents who talked to him bluntly about what more they needed.

“I want the American people to know what we’re trying to get done,” he said to officials there. “We can’t afford not to do this.”

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, continued his dialled-up attacks on migrants arriving at the border, deriding them as “terrorists” and criminals. “This is a Joe Biden invasion,” he said.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to people across the Rio Grande in Mexico at Shelby Park during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border on Feb. 29, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to people across the Rio Grande in Mexico at Shelby Park during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border on Feb. 29, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.
| Photo Credit:

Mr. Trump was in Eagle Pass, roughly 325 miles (523 km) northwest of Brownsville, in the corridor that’s currently seeing the largest number of crossings. He went to a local park that has become a Republican symbol of defiance against the federal immigration enforcement practices it mocks.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas National Guard soldiers gave him a tour, showing off razor wire they put up on Mr. Abbott’s orders and in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court order. “This is like a war,” Mr. Trump said.

Politics over illegal migrants

The number of people who are illegally crossing the U.S. border has been rising for years for complicated reasons that include climate change, war and unrest in other nations, the economy, and cartels that see migration as a cash cow.

The administration’s approach has been to pair crackdowns at the border with increasing legal pathways for migrants designed to steer people into arriving by plane with sponsors, not illegally on foot to the border.

Arrests for illegal crossings fell by half in January, but there were record highs in December. The numbers of migrants flowing across the U.S-Mexico border have far outpaced the capacity of an immigration system that has not been substantially updated in decades. Mr. Trump and Republicans claim Mr. Biden is refusing to act, but absent law change from Congress, any major policies are likely to be challenged or held up in court.

Among those voters, worries about the nation’s broken immigration system are rising on both sides of the political divide, which could be especially problematic for Biden.

According to an AP-NORC poll in January, the share of voters concerned about immigration rose to 35% from 27% last year. 55% of Republicans say the government needs to focus on immigration in 2024, while 22% of Democrats listed immigration as a priority. That’s up from 45% and 14%, respectively, from December 2022.

Mr. Trump landed to cheers from a crowd gathered at the small airport who held signs that read: “Trump 2024.” Some yelled, “Way to go, Trump.” He chatted with supporters for a few minutes before getting into his waiting SUV.

From Air Force One, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas dismissed claims the president’s visit was political, and noted how badly his department that manages the U.S.-Mexico border needed extra funding that would have been contained in the collapsed bill.

“This visit is focused on the work that we do, not the rhetoric of others,” he said. “This is focused on operational needs, operational challenges and the significant impact that legislation would have in enhancing our border security.”

In a symbol of the political divide, the Republican-controlled House voted to impeach Mr. Mayorkas over the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats say the charges amount to a policy dispute, not the “high crimes and misdemeanours” laid out as a bar for impeachment in the Constitution.

Since the president was last at the border a year ago, the debate over immigration in Washington has shifted further to the right. Democrats have become increasingly eager to embrace border restrictions now that migrants are sleeping in police stations and airplane hangars in major cities.

During bipartisan talks on an immigration deal that would have toughened access for migrants, Mr. Biden himself said he’d be willing to “shut down the border” right now, should the deal pass.

The talks looked promising for a while. But Mr. Trump, who didn’t want to give Mr. Biden a political win on one of his signature campaign issues, persuaded Republicans to kill the deal. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., declared it dead on arrival.

Mr. Biden vowed to make sure everyone knew why. “Every day, between now and November, the American people are gonna know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends,” he said this month, referring to the former president’s Make America Great Again slogan.

Trump was also to be interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity from Shelby Park, an expanse along the Rio Grande owned by the city of Eagle Pass.

Trump has laid out updated immigration proposals that would mark a dramatic escalation of the approach he used in office and that drew alarms from civil rights activists and numerous court challenges.

Some of those include reviving and expanding his controversial travel ban, imposing “ideological screening” for migrants, terminating all work permits and cutting off funding for shelter and transportation for people who are in the country illegally. He also is likely to bring up the killing of a 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia. The suspect is a Venezuelan migrant.

“Biden is preposterously trying to blame me and Congressional Republicans for the national security and public safety disaster he has created,” Mr. Trump wrote in an op-ed in the British newspaper The Daily Mail. “He created this catastrophe. “

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#Miles #Biden #Trump #tour #USMexico #border #highlighting #immigration #election #issue

DeSantis admin secures BIG win against Biden and Democrats are seething

Last night at midnight, Title 42, a rule put into place during the Covid era restricting illegal immigration, was set to end. The Biden administration chose to end Title 42 opening the door for a huge influx of new migrants at our southern border. The border is already in crisis, and the end of Title 42 will only exacerbate what is already a human rights disaster. Right before Title 42 was set to expire, the DeSantis administration was victorious in securing an injunction against a policy allowing migrants to be set free without a court date.

Any time the Biden administration is unhappy, something wonderful probably just happened for regular Americans.

Ashley Moody, the Attorney General of Florida sued the Biden Administration and secured this tremendous victory. Celebration broke out on Twitter upon hearing the news.

Thankfully, there are state-level legislators and attorneys willing to fight Biden’s illegal orders with the power of the courts.

The Biden administration has decided to enact rules and regulations and dare states to sue them. It’s shameful to see a presidential administration acting with lawless intent and forcing lawsuits to restrain them.

While tweeps were thankful to Ashley Moody and the DeSantis administration, many wondered why their own Republican state officials are not also fighting back against this feckless Biden administration.

Other tweeps noted this was a good first step, but we need cooperation from other countries to truly make a lasting impact on the illegal immigration issue.

Whenever there is bad news for the lawless Biden administration, corporate media seems to get a frog in their throat. It’s so very strange.

There is no doubt the border is a huge mess and this is only one battle in a war it will take all legislators of good conscience to solve.


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#DeSantis #admin #secures #BIG #win #Biden #Democrats #seething

‘Where’s AOC’ trends as the Biden Administration puts kids in cages

Senator Ron Johnson is one of the people informing us that there are, in fact, kids in cages in America again:

So that led to the obvious question:

Hilariously, ‘Where’s AOC,’ is trending nationally because people are calling Alexandria Occasional-Cortex Ocasio-Cortez out. Here are some of the best examples:

A callback to when she pretended to be handcuffed.

We don’t think that is the real Alex Jones, but without reliable blue-check verification, who can know?

Of course, one liberal complained that somehow this was bullying:

No, criticizing a public figure is not bullying. It’s free speech.

Or maybe it is those evil Russians!

О черт, он к нам!!!

(We hope google translate worked for that joke. We wanted to say “oh crap, he’s onto us!!!” Our apologies to any Russian speakers if we said anything truly rude.)

Another Tweeter thought he nailed conservatives on this:

Actually, pointing out hypocrisy is not taking a stance on the substantive issue, but thanks for playing.

Naturally, the dragging extended into broader issues of hypocrisy than just AOC’s:

He’s not wrong.

Indeed, this person has the receipts:

Truly, an excellent thread. Well done!

The cold reality is that as long as minors are sent across the border illegally, accompanied or not, we will need to detain them. We frankly detain minors all the time, including citizens. Juvenile courts are filled with minors who commit crimes and, yes, they are regularly sent to prison. They are often held in jail awaiting trial for their alleged crimes. Typically, these involve special units for children, but we still confine them. It was nothing more than demagoguery for Democrats to pretend this was somehow wrong or even unusual, which is why they are doing it again, now that they are in charge, again. Sometimes children have to be detained. Every sane person wishes it was unnecessary, but every rational person knows that sometimes it has to be done. It is as simple as that.


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Climate change displaces more people than war, says UN migration chief

The number of asylum seekers arriving in Europe has skyrocketed in 2023. More than 40,000 undocumented people have crossed the Mediterranean Sea so far this year: one of the highest rates since the 2015 migration crisis.

The first quarter of 2023 was also the deadliest for migrants crossing the Mediterranean since 2017. Some 700 people have either died or gone missing in the first three months of the year en route.

To discuss Europe’s response to this, Euronews’ International Correspondent Anelise Borges spoke to António Vitorino, Director General of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Anelise Borges, Euronews International Correspondent: This is actually not a new, impending crisis. This is yet another chapter of a crisis that I feel like we’ve been seeing unfold in Europe for more than eight years now. What is your organisation witnessing specifically in the Central Mediterranean?

António Vitorino, Director General, IOM: “The Central Mediterranean has been a growing route to Europe, constantly. Even during the pandemic, the figures kept on the rise. And as you said, the figures of the first three months of this year are four times higher than last year – [in] the same period.

“So it’s quite clear that there are a number of travelling routes towards Europe that are arriving now, to Italy mainly. And Italy is overburdened with this pressure.”

Anelise Borges, Euronews International Correspondent: I want to read something the IOM has put out: “Delays in State-led rescues on the Central Mediterranean route were a factor in at least six incidents, or shipwrecks, this year leading to the deaths of at least 127 people. The complete absence of response to a seventh case claimed the lives of at least 73 people.” Would you say European governments have blood on their hands?

**António Vitorino, Director General, IOM:**“I believe that there is an urgent need for European Member States to take seriously a proposal that the commission itself presented in order to address the three key issues at stake.

“First, people need to be prevented from embarking on dangerous journeys and that depends on the cooperation with the countries of departure. Secondly, there is a need for a state-led initiative about search and rescue – we cannot leave that to just NGOs. And, of course, we need to prevent people from dying in the Mediterranean. And thirdly, and this is very important, there is a need to have predictability in the disembarkation points because they cannot just go to the [closest] port and there is a need to set up a swift relocation process not to overburden those countries that are geographically exposed.

Anelise Borges, Euronews International Correspondent: “It’s interesting what you say about the coordination when it comes to receiving these people… the disembarkation ports. I have not worked on this issue for as long as you, but I feel quite disheartened to see that nothing seems to change, year after year. It’s almost like I could use the same words, the same pictures, to describe the situation year after year. You understand the European Union, you have been a commissioner for the EU. Why do you think that is? Why can’t European governments come together to tackle this issue?

António Vitorino, Director General, IOM: “Well, indeed, you are right. The European Commission has put forward the proposal for a pact on asylum and migration to have a common approach and common standards among all EU member states. It’s quite clear that the progress in adopting the legal instruments of the Pact has not progressed that much. That shows that there are still differences in the perspective [of] how migration is seen by different Member States. 

“But my key point is that no country alone can tackle [such] a challenge. So only [by] working together can we succeed. And for that, I think it’s absolutely necessary to have strong pressure on the European institutions and on the European Member States to come to a joint approach.”

Anelise Borges, Euronews International Correspondent: In terms of the data you collect and the areas you are monitoring specifically in Europe, are there places that are of your concern right now?

António Vitorino, Director General, IOM: “We’ve had a very serious crisis last year in Belarus on the border with Poland. And I have made it very clear that we condemn any kind of instrumentalisation of migrants and refugees by one state for political ends. These kinds of situations cannot happen again. We cannot accept [these] illusions created for people in despair, with the idea [of] simple and fast-track gateways towards another country or towards Europe.

“That’s a violation of international law, a violation of fundamental rights of migrants and refugees. And what happened last year cannot happen again.”

Anelise Borges, Euronews International Correspondent: When it comes to a positive lesson, I would say, that Europe has shown the world when addressing migration routes – and legal options for people to move – I would say the war in Ukraine has served as a good example of what can be done when countries come together and try to find a cohesive plan. But there’s been quite a lot of criticism with regard to that because some – and I am quoting activists and humanitarian workers – said that it felt like it was a double standard. When refugees look like us, when they have the same religion as us, then they are welcomed. What do you say to that?

António Vitorino, Director General, IOM: “I believe that the use of the Temporary Protection Directive that I put forward when I was the Commissioner in 2020, and was then approved, proved to be a very effective instrument of solidarity, of support. But it’s a very challenging situation because you are dealing with people traumatised by the war, people vulnerable to abuse, to exploitation, particularly women and children. And you need to find the necessary resources to support a longstanding stay in the host countries, because now we are already more than one year after the beginning of the Russian invasion and the prospects of returning to Ukraine don’t seem around the corner because people can only return when the security conditions are met in order to reconstruct Ukraine, which is going to be badly needed.”

Anelise Borges, Euronews International Correspondent: Multiple crises are compounded right now, but there is one that looms above all others: climate change. We have been talking about it for a while now, how the weather could be the number one source of displacement for people in the future. But we have some 20 million people being displaced by these phenomena every year. Do you sense governments understand the challenge ahead of them and [are] taking measures to try and come up with a system at least to accommodate these people being displaced, fleeing their homes?

António Vitorino, Director General, IOM: “There are more people displaced because of climate change than because of conflicts, in spite of the fact that in many countries there are climate vulnerable countries with conflicts inside. So the two elements play together, they interact and they are triggers of displacement. 

“These people that are impacted by climate change – 20 million per year, for instance, in the last decade – these people are, for the time being, mainly internally displaced people, but sooner or later they will cross an international border and they will become, let’s say, climate migrants. And that’s why the conclusions of Sharm el Sheikh were important because for the first time, in COP27, it was recognised that climate change is already having an impact today in forcing people to be displaced and we need to provide them with lifesaving assistance and then finding durable solutions for the future.”

**Anelise Borges, Euronews International Correspondent:**But how far are we from that? I mean, because one thing is recognising, yes, indeed, there is a problem, right? But then how long until that is translated into action? And in your opinion, do we have this time?

António Vitorino, Director General, IOM: “We need to act urgently in global terms about climate change and in concrete terms to the most vulnerable regions in the world. And of course, for that, we need to bet on adaptation, mitigation and building the resilience of the communities. 

“Many countries are already taking those measures, but the effort that is required goes beyond their capacity. So there is a need for a mobilisation of the international community to support those countries.”

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#Climate #change #displaces #people #war #migration #chief