(TheConservativeNews.org) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott greeted President Joe Biden at the base of Air Force One in El Paso on Sunday and presented him with a scathing letter condemning the president’s approach to immigration and border security.
“Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late,” Abbott, a Republican about to begin his third term, said in the single-page letter to the Democratic president. “Moreover, your visit avoids the sites where mass illegal immigration occurs and sidesteps the thousands of angry Texas property owners whose lives have been destroyed by your border policies.”
The brief but what appeared to be a cordial exchange between Biden and Abbott was picked up by television news cameras but their remarks were not. Biden appeared to read the letter, before folding it and offering the governor a final handshake before moving on to greet others who turned out to meet him during his short stay in El Paso.
Abbott said that he chose to confront the president personally due to Biden’s handling of the border, which Abbott argued had greatly harmed his state of Texas.
“The President announced on Thursday that he was gonna be coming to the border and we didn’t hear from him. He said he was gonna meet with local officials. Last night, a staff person in my office received an invitation from the president’s office for me to greet the president at the tarmac, which I did do as I always do,” Abbott said after speaking with Biden, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Democratic Texas Reps. Veronica Escobar, Henry Cuellar and Vicente González.
“But I wanted to use the opportunity to express to the president the damage that he’s caused in the state of Texas and the solutions that he could deploy today to eliminate that damage, to restore the immigration system to an orderly system and to eliminate illegal immigration,” he added.
Abbott has done little to mask his antipathy toward Biden’s border policies that rolled back many of the hardline immigration policies of then-President Donald Trump. Speaking with reporters after his visit with the president, the governor again amplified his complaints.
“The president who caused the chaos at the border needed to be here,” Abbott in a five-minute question-and-answer session. “He needs to step up and take swift action, including reimbursing the state of Texas for the money that we’ve spent (on state border security initiatives).”
Asked what the president told him, Abbott replied, “He said he wanted to work with us.”
The airport meeting, which had not been publicly announced, came after a weekend in which Abbott had criticized Biden in a string of social media posts and in appearance on Fox News.
“This is just a photo op and a game of pretend,” Abbott told the cable network earlier on Sunday.
Abbott and other Texas Republican leaders have called on Biden to both visit the nation’s southern border and to take aggressive action to curb the two-year surge in illegal crossings.
Biden’s trip to the border, his first since taking office two years ago, was announced last week after El Paso dominated national news headlines as thousands of migrants amassed at the border, many of whom crossed into the city in anticipation of the lifting of the policy knowns as Title 42. That policy, imposed during the Trump years ostensibly as a COVID-containment strategy, allows immigration authorities to rapidly expel migrants and, in some cases, suspend the right to seek asylum under U.S. law and international treaty.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the policy must remain pending action by the court later this year.
Abbott, in his remarks to reporters in El Paso, noted that Texas is a party to the still-pending lawsuit.
“He is required as president by the laws to maintain Title 42 in place,” Abbott said.
In his letter to Biden, Abbott listed a series of steps he wants the administration to take to stem both illegal immigration and the illicit importation of drugs. He spelled out the recommended actions he wants Biden to take in bullet points:
- You must comply with the many statutes mandating that various categories of (migrants) “shall” be detained, and end the practice of unlawfully paroling migrants en masse.
- You must stop sandbagging the implementation of the Remain-in-Mexico policy and Title 42 expulsions, and fully enforce those measures as the federal courts have ordered you to do.
- You must aggressively prosecute illegal entry between ports of entry, and allow ICE to remove illegal immigrants in accordance with existing federal laws.
- You must immediately resume construction of the border wall in the state of Texas, using the billions of dollars Congress has appropriated for that purpose.
- You must designate the Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.