As former President Donald Trump toured the U.S.-Mexico border Wednesday, startling differences between him and Vice President Kamala Harris’s box-checking layover last week emerged.
Traveling with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Trump visited the Rio Grande Valley, where many feel the crisis is most prominent. There were nearly 3,000 apprehensions this week in the Rio Grande Valley Sector alone.
Abbott, who spoke forcefully Wednesday, wants to complete border wall construction that the Biden administration refuses to build. He expects the state will receive “hundreds of miles” to build the border wall, especially on privately-donated land.
The governor also declared a disaster in 34 Texas counties because of increased illegal immigration in recent months. The declaration allowed him to request the emergency transfer of legislative funds to begin construction of the wall. A crowdfunding website received about a half million dollars in one week.
A security briefing was held in Weslaco, Texas, with state law enforcement officials before an afternoon press conference along the border in McAllen, Texas, where Trump spoke at length, somewhat in campaigning style.
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The former president, who’s recently seen his 2024 popularity wane, also published an editorial in the Washington Times Wednesday, reading in part, “This is perhaps the first time in world history a nation has purposely and systematically dismantled its own defenses to invite millions of foreign migrants to enter its territory and break its law.”
Five days ago, however, it was “welcome to my community, to the new Ellis Island, to the capital of the border,” Rep. Veronica Escobar shouted with glee. Is Escobar enticing illegal immigrants, even after seeing horrific stories of smugglers tossing infants over border fences and two-year-olds being abandoned on highways? Ellis Island processed millions of legal immigrants.
Harris has announced no changes that would have a real effect.
“The Biden-Harris administration was taken by surprise by the border surge that it caused,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, wrote after Harris’s trip.
“Its immigration policy amounts to Orange Man Bad, so doing something like restoring Trump’s Remain in Mexico program, the single most effective measure in clamping down on the use of asylum as a vehicle for illegal immigration, is foreclosed to it. That means the problem isn’t going away. Harris’s visit to the border isn’t the end of her immigration problem — it’s just the beginning,” he added.
While neighboring states Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota have deployed National Guard troops to border, Minnesota has not.
“They were saying it’s the worst in 20 years. I say, ‘What are you talking about, 20 years? It’s by far the worst in history,’ and seven months ago, it was the best in history,” Trump said on The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton show Tuesday. “That included drugs. That included human trafficking, where we had it very strongly stopped. You know, you’re never gonna make it perfect. It’s a big, long border. But we had it stopped.”
In the first five months of the Biden administration, record numbers of migrants have crossed the southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded nearly 200,000 encounters in May, the most in over two decades. There were fewer than 25,000 in the final months of 2020, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Seizures of fentanyl are also up 265% from last year.
In a recent Harvard poll, 80% of respondents said illegal immigration is a serious issue that needs more attention than what Biden or Harris are giving it.