Republicans in Texas have complained for months about President Joe Biden supposedly ignoring a border crisis. Now that Biden traveled to the border with a bipartisan delegation over the weekend, Republicans could only muster jeers.
Biden traveled to El Paso on the heels of announcing some controversial new moves concerning immigration and asylum. The administration revealed that they would be blocking Cuban, Haitian and Nicaraguan migrants if they attempt to cross the border, keeping them in Mexico.
That announcement drew condemnation from humanitarian groups and Democratic leaders, including Congressman Joaquin Castro. “I am deeply disappointed to see the Biden administration extending failed Trump-era immigration policies that exacerbate chaos and irregular migration at the Southern border,” said Castro in a statement.
Biden’s trip to El Paso included meeting with border patrol agents. He was joined by Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security. Republicans have long threatened to impeach Mayorkas, though whether that can happen with their slim majority in the House remains to be seen.
Biden also met briefly with Abbott, who “hand-delivered” a letter to the President that outlined several requests (and stunts) regarding border security. In a statement following the event, Abbott referred to Biden’s visit as a “carefully staged-managed version of El Paso.”
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar also traveled with President Biden to El Paso, which she represents in the U.S. House. Escobar appeared on CBS News prior to the trip and acknowledged that the border and immigration are weak areas for the Biden administration. “He needs to hear about how over time the challenges that we have faced as a country on immigration, on border issues, have grown exponentially,” she said.
Escobar also noted that the executive branch is not the only level of government that can focus on immigration reform. She considers Congress to be a “brick wall” when it comes to meaningful immigration reform legislation.
While there were hopes that Congress could pass legislation securing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers (those with DACA) in the lame duck session, that did not happen. DACA remains in a perilous position. A federal judge in Texas ruled it was unlawful, and new applications are not being processed (current holders can renew in two-year increments).
Photo by Gage Skidmore