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8 Jan, 2023 23:03

Biden accused of ‘stage-managed’ border tour

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has blasted the president for getting only a “sanitized” view of America’s immigration crisis
Biden accused of ‘stage-managed’ border tour

Texas Governor Greg Abbott welcomed Joe Biden for the president’s long-awaited visit to the southern US border by hand-delivering a letter demanding that the federal government address the “worst illegal immigration” crisis in the nation’s history by enforcing current laws.

“Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late,” Abbott said in the letter, which he handed to the president after Biden disembarked Air Force One on Sunday in El Paso. He added that Biden’s visit was being carefully crafted to avoid seeing the havoc and damage caused by his open-border policies.

“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,” Abbott said. “This chaos is the direct result of your failure to enforce the immigration laws that Congress enacted.”

Illegal border crossings into the US have surged fivefold since Biden took office in January 2021 and reached a record high of 2.76 million in the government fiscal year that ended on September 30. Biden hadn’t been to the border since 2008, when was campaigning in New Mexico. He announced a new border plan on Thursday, including new limits on migration from Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti.   

However, Abbott said the new policies are primarily about helping illegal migrants, rather than blocking them from entering the US. “All of this is happening because you have violated your constitutional obligation to defend the states against invasion through faithful execution of federal laws.”

The governor launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021 to help secure the border. The operation has netted 23,000 criminal arrests and seizures of over 354 million doses of fentanyl. The state also has bussed 16,000 migrants to so-called “sanctuary cities” that support open borders, including Washington and New York.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas criticized Abbott on Sunday for failing to work through the federal government to address border concerns. “We cannot have unilateral governor action,” Mayorkas said in an ABC News interview.

Abbott accused Biden of coming to a “stage-managed version of El Paso” for “photo ops” and argued that nothing will be accomplished unless he begins enforcing immigration laws.