White House hits Trump, Republicans over Senate border bill ahead of Biden’s dueling trip to Texas

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre knocked former President Trump and Republicans in Congress over the Senate border bill ahead of President Biden’s dueling trip to Texas. 

While aboard Air Force One en route to New York City on Monday, Jean-Pierre said President Biden would spend his visit to Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday hearing directly from Border Patrol agents and about the resources they need to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump, the GOP front-runner and Biden’s likely opponent come November, had already been scheduled to speak at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Thursday, when the White House on Monday announced Biden’s trip approximately 325 miles away that same day. 

Jean-Pierre focused her comments to reporters about how the bipartisan border supplemental passed out of the Senate 70-29 and needs to be called to a vote in the House. 

Biden, “was able to move the ball forward in the Senate to get a bipartisan negotiation on the border security deal. That was rejected, obviously, by Republicans because of the last president and President Trump, to be exact,” Jean-Pierre said, stressing that the bipartisan border proposal also received support from the Border Patrol union. 

Brownsville is part of the Rio Grande Valley sector, which has been considered dead or slow in illegal crossings over the past several months. It currently averages only between about 200-400 encounters per day across the entire​ sector, which includes nine separate Border Patrol stations in a handful of different cities and areas, and it is the sector with the most resources. 

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Therefore, there will be zero risk of any Border Patrol facility overcrowding for Biden’s visit. 

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection source told Fox News that there were only 318 encounters in the Rio Grande Valley sector on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, sectors in blue states are very busy. The San Diego and Tucson sectors are both getting 1,000-2,000 illegal crossings daily.

Eagle Pass, where Trump will be visiting, has been the center of an ongoing stand-off and court battle between Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Biden administration. Texas National Guard troops were ordered to deny access by federal Border Patrol agents to Shelby Park, which has seen a surge in illegal crossings, and erected razor wire to deter migrants. 

Biden’s last visit to the border was in El Paso after a huge surge of illegal crossings where the streets had been cleared of migrant camps and the visit was highly sanitized. Biden did not see or talk to a single migrant, nor did he visit a Border Patrol station, opting for a CBP port of entry instead, where only lawful crossings occur.

Asked if Biden plans to meet with migrants this time given the criticism that he didn’t last time, Jean-Pierre said she had no information yet. 

Texas National Guard close gates

“We’ll have more to share as we get closer to Thursday. Don’t have anything for you at this time. Obviously, he’s going to meet with frontline folks who work on the ground, including Border Patrol agents, hear directly from them. See also for himself what is it that they do every day to protect Americans, to secure the border,” she said. “They need more resources.”

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Pressed on whether Biden has any planned executive action to address the border crisis, Jean-Pierre again turned back to Congress. 

“We’ve been very clear there is no executive action that would have done what the bipartisan Senate negotiation proposal could have done. That would have been a step forward in dealing with the challenges at the border and dealing with policy changes, obviously, and in dealing with what is actually happening with the immigration system,” she said. 

Eagles Pass Texas migrants

“Republicans should get out of the way, not politicize this. This is an issue that the American people, majority of American people, care about,” she added. 

The press secretary said Biden is “going to see for himself to see what they’ve been doing on the ground. Remember, these Border Patrol agents have been doing everything that they can to secure the border with the resources that they have. They need more. They need more.” 

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The White House billed the Senate bipartisan border bill as “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border in decades,” saying it provides funding needed for additional U.S. border agents, more asylum officers, fentanyl detection technology and more. 

Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.

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