As President Joe Biden arrived on Sunday in Texas for his first visit to the United States-Mexico border since taking office, Republican Governor Greg Abbot handed him a scathing letter criticizing his lax border policies.
In the letter, Gov. Abbott blasted the president’s visit as “$20 billion too little and two years too late.” Abbott pointed out that the president’s tour “sidesteps the thousands of angry Texan property owners whose lives have been destroyed by your border policies” and avoids areas where mass illegal immigration occurs.
“Even the city you visit has been sanitized of the migrant camps which had overrun downtown El Paso because your administration wants to shield you from the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis,” wrote Abbott. He alleged that the chaos at the border is a direct result of the failure to enforce federal immigration laws by the Biden administration.
The governor said the U.S. government achieved “historically low levels of illegal immigration” under former President Donald Trump. However, under the Biden administration, Gov. Abbott wrote, “America is suffering the worst illegal immigration in the history of our country.”
“Your open-border policies have emboldened the cartels, who grow wealthy by trafficking deadly fentanyl and even human beings. Texans are paying an especially high price for your failure, sometimes with their very lives, as local leaders from your own party will tell you if given the chance,” said Abbott.
The Texas governor urged Biden to enforce the immigration laws already in place and designate the Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
Abbott to reporters: Border visit ‘for show’
While speaking to reporters later Sunday, Governor Abbott said the president’s border visit is “nothing but for show unless [the administration] begins to enforce the immigration laws already that exist in the United States of America that are contained in the letter that was provided to the president today.”
When Abbott was asked what the president’s response to him was, the governor said, “He said he wanted to work with us on it.”
President Biden only planned on spending a few hours in El Paso, the most significant corridor for illegal border crossings. This is partly due to Nicaraguans fleeing crime, poverty, and repression in their country.
Migrants from four countries are now subject to swift expulsion under the Biden administration’s new rules enacted in the past week. The rules drew strong criticism from advocates for immigration.
The president was expected to meet with border officials to discuss migration along with the increased trafficking of synthetic opioids and fentanyl, which are driving the surging numbers of overdoses in the U.S.
President Biden was also scheduled to visit the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and religious groups and nonprofits supporting migrants arriving in the United States. It is unclear whether the president planned to speak with any migrants.