Gov. Greg Abbott met with President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday and hand-delivered a letter demanding more federal action on border security.
January 8 marked the first time Biden visited the southern border as president. Abbott met him on the tarmac at El Paso International Airport and gave him a letter describing the “chaos” caused by Biden’s “failure to enforce the immigration laws that Congress enacted.”
“Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late,” Abbott wrote. “Moreover, your visit avoids the sites where mass illegal immigration occurs and sidesteps the thousands of angry Texas property owners whose lives have been destroyed by your border policies.”
Abbott alleged in the letter that the United States has suffered the worst record of unlawful migration in American history under Biden’s administration. Alternatively, he asserted that the federal government achieved historically low levels of unlawful migration under President Trump.
“Your open-border policies have emboldened the cartels, who grow wealthy by trafficking deadly fentanyl and even human beings,” he wrote. “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.”
Abbott said the border crisis is happening because Biden has violated his constitutional obligation to protect the United States against invasion through his failure to properly execute federal laws.
“On behalf of all Americans,” Abbott concluded, “I implore you: Secure our border by enforcing Congress’ immigration laws.”
The practice of flying or busing unlawful migrants from border states like Texas and Arizona to Democrat-controlled cities by Abbott and other Republican governors has been a high-profile facet of the argument over immigration policies The approach has drawn some criticism for allegedly using people as political pawns.
The president’s most recent approach to the situation in El Paso — which expanded restrictions on asylum-seekers in an effort to curb the flow of unlawful migrants amid a state of emergency — has been likewise criticized by Democrats and human rights activists as a “humanitarian disgrace.”
During his brief visit, Biden met with Border Patrol officers and local officials at the entry point, which will receive $600 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and he walked along the 18-foot border wall that separates El Paso from Juárez, Mexico. He also visited the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and talked to local business owners.
It remains to be seen whether Biden will propose a new solution to the migrant problem.
For his part, Abbott’s letter included various recommendations to fix the border crisis, including not interfering with the Remain in Mexico policy and Title 42 expulsions, aggressively prosecuting illegal crossing between ports of entry, and resuming construction on the border wall.
Speaking to reporters after his trip, Biden said, “They need a lot of resources. We’re going to get it for them.”