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Texas to make history Thursday with two presidents at its border on same day

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Texas will make history Thursday with two presidents – one sitting, one former – visiting its border with Mexico. Former president Donald Trump will be in Eagle Pass with Republican officials and President Joe Biden will be in Brownsville with Democratic officials ahead of the March 6 primary election in Texas.

Both Trump and Biden are expected to win their respective party primaries in Texas next week.

With the border crisis remaining the top issue for voters in an election year and a likely rematch between Trump and Biden in November, Republicans argue Biden’s timing to go to the border, and to Texas, is suspect.

Biden is scheduled to visit Brownsville to “reiterate his calls for congressional Republicans to stop playing politics and to provide the funding needed for additional U.S. Border Patrol agents, more asylum officers, fentanyl detection technology and more,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Jean-Pierre was referring to a bill negotiated by Senate Democrats and Republican Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, that would have codified mass migration, illegal entry and blocked states from suing over the federal policies, Texas officials argued. The bill was “dead on arrival,” Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said. While many in the media Trump influenced the House to kill the bill, the House already had passed its own border security bill, Johnson and others argue, which the Senate has refused to consider.

Trump visited Texas multiple times when he was president and, since then, met with Border Patrol agents and state and local officials.

Biden visited Texas as president once, on his way to a meeting in Mexico City when he stopped at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in El Paso and met with Democratic leaders on Jan. 8, 2022.

Abbott, who wasn’t invited to meet with Biden in the state he leads, arrived at the El Paso International Airport and hand delivered Biden a letter highlighting five policies he said would secure the border. Abbott has sent multiple letters to the president, including with other Republican governors, and has received no response.

Abbott also has called on the president to follow the laws established by Congress to secure the border. Biden, for years, has said there is no border crisis. Johnson countered, identifying 64 Biden policies he argues created the border crisis.

The 45th and 46th presidents visiting Texas on the same day is the first time two presidents have done so in U.S. history. Both are expected to discuss their policies, which have led to opposite results.

The Trump administration required federal agents to comply with federal detention and deportation policies, created the Remain in Mexico and Title 42 public health authority policies, and constructed and expanded several hundred miles of border wall despite congressional and legal challenges to stop it. The result, Trump, Abbott and 25 Republican governors argue, was the lowest level of illegal entry in U.S. history. Dangerous criminals were apprehended, instead of an unknown number being released into the country under the Biden administration, law enforcement officials have warned.

On Biden’s first day in office, he halted all Trump border policies via executive order, including halting detention, deportation and removal policies, halting border wall construction, halting Remain in Mexico and other policies. Biden says his border policies are more humane than Trump’s.

Under Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, over a dozen “parole” policies were created and implemented to facilitate “lawful pathways” to transport, process and release into the U.S. millions of people from over 170 countries who would not have been permitted legal entry, multiple attorneys general have argued who sued to stop them.

Since January 2021, more than 11 million people, including gotaways and known or suspected terrorists, illegally entered the country, the greatest numbers in U.S. history, The Center Square reported. And the greatest number of illegal border crossers in U.S. history were reported in December 2023 and January 2024.

Texas has borne the brunt of illegal entry with more than 1.9 million entering in fiscal 2023 alone, The Center Square reported.

In April 2021, Abbott launched Texas’ border security mission, Operation Lone Star, to implement border security measures the federal government should have been doing but wasn’t because of Biden’s policies, Abbott argues. The Texas legislature has allocated over $11.6 billion to border security efforts over a four-year period, something Texas taxpayers should not have to fund, but will to protect Texans and Americans, the governor argues.

In response to Biden’s Texas trip, Trump Campaign Press Secretary Karoline Leavitt said in a statement, “Crooked Joe Biden has had three years to visit the border and fix the crisis he created. Now Biden’s handlers are sending him there on the same day as President Trump’s publicly reported trip. Biden’s last-minute, insincere attempt to chase President Trump to the border won’t cut it.”