President Biden visits U.S.-Mexico border Sunday
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EL PASO, T.X. – President Biden spent some of his Sunday in El Paso in his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office.
Critics are calling the visit to a reportedly “sanitized” city too little too late, saying the chaos is a direct result of the president’s failed policies.
Meanwhile, some in New Mexico say there’s still time for the state to strengthen the border, and it will all start during the upcoming legislative session.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott met Biden in El Paso on Sunday afternoon on the runway with a letter in hand.
Abbott later posted the letter on Twitter, saying Biden’s visit is “$20 billion and two years too late.”
He also wrote “this chaos is a direct result of your failure to enforce the immigration laws Congress enacted.”
“He should’ve been down here from day one to fix the problem that he created,” said Abbott.
Biden then met with local leaders and Border Patrol agents during an unexpected detour toward the border wall.
“They need a lot of resources and we’re gonna get it for them.”
Comments came from New Mexico leaders in every level of government Sunday.
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima underlined the need for immigration judges near the border. He says it would allow migrants the opportunity for a speedy first hearing.
State Sen. Crystal Diamond, who represents four southern New Mexico counties, says the border poses a clear danger to New Mexicans. She used last week’s shooting of a Border Patrol agent in Lordsburg as an example.
“These weren’t just peaceful migrants that shot at these border patrol officers that kidnapped some of our local residents down on the border, they’re bringing fentanyl and firearms across the border. It’s an increase in criminal activity that continues to be ignored in New Mexico,” said Diamond.
Diamond is calling for more law enforcement officers on the border, and wants a bigger National Guard presence.
She says she’ll also introduce legislation to allocate funds to increase communication infrastructure along the border at the upcoming legislative session.
“We need radios, we need cell phone towers, and not only will this assist and make the area safer for our law enforcement, but also for our citizens who live along that border area, that often go for miles, and miles without cell phone service,” Diamond said.
Newly-sworn in congressman Gabe Vasquez tweeted some of his recommendations Sunday, like funding for humanitarian efforts, more support for legal aid services for refugees, and convening an immigration summit as soon as possible.
“It is not a partisan issue. Specifically what we need help addressing is the increase in criminal activities. The cartel influence that is continuing to be on the rise and hurting all of our communities and that’s certainly not a partisan issue at all,” said Diamond.
We reached out to New Mexico Democratic leadership and the governor’s office for a comment, but haven’t heard back.
Another point of criticism Sunday was that Biden showed up to a quote “sanitized” El Paso where he couldn’t see the full scope of the crisis. But the El Paso mayor made it a point in a news conference to say Biden is very aware of what’s going on.