United States President Joe Biden has made his first visit to the US-Mexico border since taking office in January of 2022.
The hours-long visit on Sunday followed a recently announced policy initiative by the Biden administration meant to address an increase in undocumented border crossings.
The politically charged issue has dogged the Democratic president since taking office, with Republican critics charging the administration has been too lenient, and rights groups charging the newly announced measures will put asylum seekers’ lives at risk.
The stop in the city of El Paso, Texas, took place as Biden travelled to Mexico, where he is set to meet President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday before attending a three-way summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the following day in Mexico City.
“They need a lot of resources. We’re going to get it for them,” Biden told reporters in Texas, where he met border agents at the Bridge of the Americas, which connects El Paso to the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, and is one of the busiest ports of entry between the two countries.
During the visit, Biden watched as border officers in El Paso demonstrated how they search vehicles for drugs, money and other contraband. He later inspected a section of the tall fencing along the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
Meanwhile, in a sign of the deep political tensions over immigration, Republican Governor Greg Abbott handed Biden a letter on his arrival that said the alleged “chaos” at the border was the “direct result” of the president’s failure to enforce federal laws.