President Biden will visit the U.S.-Mexico border Sunday, stopping in El Paso on his way to the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City next week.
The border visit comes as the administration made its broadest border policy announcement Thursday, a push to quell migration in the Western Hemisphere by allowing some migrants into the United States while cracking down on unauthorized border crossings.
“I will visit the border myself this Sunday in El Paso to assess border enforcement operations, meet with the local officials and community leaders and the folks at the border sending me what they need that they don’t have, and make it public what they conclude they need they don’t have to try to convince my Republican colleagues they should do something,” Biden said Thursday at the White House.
The El Paso trip was officially announced Thursday by a senior administration official who was briefing reporters on the new regional migration plan.
It’s a significant departure from the administration’s first two years, when border visits were largely conducted by lower-ranking officials, even as Republicans railed about conditions there.
Republicans and some Texas Democrats have essentially dared Biden to visit the border, following years of Border Patrol-led junkets where politicians often show up in flak jackets and other military-style gear to showcase the region’s dangers.
The Democratic stronghold of El Paso is part of the second largest binational city along the U.S.-Mexico border, with a combined population of around 2.7 million between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.
While El Paso is deeply connected with its Mexican counterpart, irregular migration has recently weighed down the city’s social services.
In early December, a large group of mostly Nicaraguan migrants crossed the Rio Grande into El Paso, prompting a massive law enforcement and humanitarian response, and overwhelming the city’s shelters and non-governmental organizations.
That movement of people, in large part spurred by criminal action in Mexico, reignited the border debate right as the administration was riding high off the best midterm results for an incumbent president since 2002.
Source: The Hill