President Joe Biden traveled to El Paso, Texas, on Sunday to assess US-Mexico border enforcement operations, his first trip to the border since taking office, just days after his administration announced new restrictions. to asylum seekers amid record numbers of migrants attempting to cross into the US.

The trip comes amid repeated Republican criticism of the president for not traveling to the southern border sooner and what they say are ineffective policies by his administration as the situation there has worsened. Biden plans to require Republicans in Congress to fund his request for border security resources and work toward comprehensive immigration reform, a White House official said.

President Joe Biden speaks with Customs and Border Protection police at the Bridge of the Americas border crossing with Mexico in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday.Jim Watson / AFP – Getty Images

During his visit to El Paso, Biden assessed enforcement operations at the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry, El Paso’s busiest port, which recently received $600 million through the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He was accompanied on his visit by the Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas; Democratic representatives from Texas Verónica Escobar, Henry Cuéllar and Vicente González; and community and business leaders, including El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.

Biden also visited the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and met with community leaders, including those from faith-based groups and nonprofit organizations that have helped manage the surge in migrants.

Upon landing, Biden was greeted by members of Congress and other officials, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who delivered a letter to the president demanding he take more border enforcement action. The demands included that Biden work to detain, process and remove more immigrants under current federal law and resume construction of the border wall, which the president largely stopped after taking office, according to a copy of the letter provided by the Texas governor’s office.

Following his visit, Biden will travel to Mexico City later on Sunday to attend the North American Leaders Summit.

The president’s visit comes days after his administration announced additional measures to increase border security. The new policies limit asylum claims at the southern border and expand the use of the Trump-era Covid-19 ban known as Title 42, while increasing the number of legal avenues for some immigrants to apply for asylum.

Title 42 will be used to send thousands of Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans each month back to the southern border. But the administration will also expand the legal avenues for immigrants to apply for asylum in the US without traveling north. Previously, Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans had been able to circumvent Title 42, which prevented more than 1.4 million border crossings by forcing migrants back into Mexico before they could claim asylum. They were exempt in part because their home countries, and therefore Mexico, refuse to accept them back.

In his remarks outlining the policy changes Thursday, the president blamed congressional Republicans for blocking a more comprehensive plan he unveiled upon taking office in 2021.

“The failure to pass and fund this comprehensive plan has increased the challenges we are seeing on the Southwest border,” Biden said, adding that border enforcement actions “are not going to fix our entire immigration system, but they can help us. a lot in managing what is a difficult challenge.”

Alexandra Cod contributed.

Por admin