xi's moments
Home | Americas

Biden, Trump vie on Texas border on same day

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-03-01 11:20

US President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, his likely GOP challenger in the upcoming presidential election, had a same-day showdown on border security in Texas on Thursday.

About 325 miles apart, at one end in Eagle Pass with barbed wire serving as a border barrier in the background, Trump praised Texas Governor Abbott's efforts to secure the border and accused Biden of allowing millions of migrants to "invade" the US; at the other end in Brownsville inside a building, Biden asked the former president and GOP lawmakers to work with him on immigration reform.

Biden said that he received a briefing from Border Patrol and asylum officers and was aware of the pressing conditions at the border. "They desperately need more resources, need more agents, more officers, more judges, more equipment in order to secure our border," Biden said. "We can't wait any longer."

Biden asked the GOP to reconsider a bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in early February but was not taken up in the House of Republicans, with Democrats accusing House Republicans of acting politically on behalf of Trump.

That bill would have tightened laws on migration and given the president the authority to close the border.

Biden said that those who oppose the bill "need to set politics aside and pass it on the merits, not on whether it benefits one party or the other party".

Saying the bill is a win for the American people, Biden dared Trump to work with him: "So here's what I would say to Mr Trump. Instead of playing politics with the issue, instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation, join me."

Trump, in his comments, frequently mentioned Biden.

He called the border crossing of migrants "Biden's invasion" and "Biden's migrant crime", and accused the president of transporting columns of "fighting-age men" to America, adding that by the time Biden is out of office, the number "could be 15 million, could be 18 million".

Trump also listed alleged crimes committed by migrants: more than 33,000 assaults, 3,000 robberies, 6,900 burglaries, 7,500 weapons offenses, 4,300 sex crimes, 1,600 kidnappings, and 1,700 homicides and murders.

Trump said the migrants are coming from prisons, mental institutions, insane asylums, and "they're terrorists".

Trump also talked extensively about the killing of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley, who was found dead on Feb 22 on the University of Georgia campus in Athens. The suspect is a 26-year-old migrant from Venezuela who entered the US in 2022 and was then released.

He also was arrested in New York City in August but released before Immigration and Customs Enforcement could ask New York officials to detain him, according to CBS News. The Georgia case has become a hot topic about immigration policy.

On Thursday, the Republican-led Georgia House of Representatives by a 97-74 vote approved a bill to require local police to arrest with probable cause anyone suspected of being in the country illegally and to detain them for deportation.

"Biden is playing the politics in old-fashioned way. He is doing what he can with the GOP members. I don't think he will get the collaboration he wants from them," Matthew Shwartz, an engineer in Houston, said after watching the speeches. "Trump is making nonsensical statements which are likely emotionally appealing to his base."

Also on Thursday, US District Court Judge Davide Erza ordered the Texas state government to suspend a law that would allow state law enforcement officers to arrest migrants under the trespassing law.

"If allowed to procced, SB 4 could open the door to each state passing its own version of immigration laws," Ezra wrote in a preliminary injunction against the law.

He rejected the state's argument that the current influx of migrants across the southern border is an "invasion" that Texas has the right to stop unilaterally. "SB 4 threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice," Ezra wrote.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he will challenge the decision. "Texas will immediately appeal this decision, and we will not back down in our fight to protect our state — and our nation — from President Biden's border crisis," Abbott said in a statement.

Others including the White House welcomed the judge's decision.

"Governor Abbott and other right-wing politicians need to stop wasting millions of Texas taxpayer dollars and lying to Texans that they are actually stopping immigrants," said Domingo Garcia, national president of The League of United Latin American Citizens welcomed this decision. He encouraged elected officials "to get down to the important business of addressing immigration reform in the interest of our country".

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349