Thursday, April 25

Biden and Trump to hold competing trips to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday

President Joe Biden will make a rare visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, the same day former President Donald Trump is also expected to visit the southern border.

“Biden will travel to Brownsville, Texas to meet with U.S. Border Patrol agents, law enforcement officials and local leaders,” the White House said in a statement.

“He will discuss the urgent need to pass the Senate bipartisan border security agreement, the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border in decades,” the statement said. “He will 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.”

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.Getty Images/AP

Two sources familiar with Trump’s planning told NBC News that he Trump will deliver remarks at Eagle Pass, Texas, which is about 330 miles from Biden’s stop.

Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt said in a statement that the White House is sending Biden to the border because, she claimed, he’s “losing terribly” in the 2024 race. “Biden’s last-minute, insincere attempt to chase President Trump to the border won’t cut it,” she said.

Commenting on his plans after a campaign meeting in New York on Monday, Biden told reporters, “I’ve been planning on going Thursday.

“What I didn’t know is my good friend is apparently going,” he added, referring to Trump.

Biden declined to comment when asked whether he would be meeting with migrants during the trip.

Biden last visited the border in January 2023, which was his first trip there as president.

His rare visit to the southern border comes as Trump and Republicans continue to attack his administration’s handling of migrants crossing into the U.S.

Immigration is certain to be a key issue in the general election cycle as GOP candidates ramp up those attacks on the president and Democrats, while Biden has scolded Republicans for failing to take legislative action to address the influx of migrants.

An NBC News poll from January found that 57% of registered voters said Trump would handle securing the border better, while 22% said the same for Biden. The same poll found that 48% of people said they would trust Biden to treat immigrants humanely, while 31% said the same of Trump.

Earlier this month, Senate Republicans killed a bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill whose key negotiator was Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. Republicans ultimately decided to sink the legislation after some urging by Trump.

And as Senate Republicans dashed any hopes for meaningful congressional action to improve the situation at the border, the GOP-controlled House narrowly impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the border in a 214-213 vote.

For their part, many Republicans have argued that Biden has executive authority to address the migrant crisis using executive authority.

Last week, NBC News reported that the administration is considering taking unilateral action that would make it more difficult for migrants to pass the initial screening process for asylum at the southern border and would quickly deport migrants who recently came to the U.S. who don’t meet the criteria.

Although Trump’s administration enforced several strict immigration policies, including using Title 42 to expel more migrants, some of the highest border crossing numbers in years were recorded during his presidency.

In 2019, for example, border crossings by undocumented migrants hit a 12-year high, the Department of Homeland Security said at the time.

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