President Biden said Tuesday he won’t visit the US-Mexico border during a day trip to Arizona because he has “more important things” to handle — despite the record-smashing surge of people illegally crossing into the US.
“Why go to a border state and not visit the border?” a reporter asked Biden on the White House lawn as he departed for Arizona.
The president replied, “Because there are more important things going on. They are going to invest billions of dollars in a new enterprise in the state.”
Biden is visiting Phoenix to promote this year’s bipartisan CHIPS Act subsidizing US technology companies that make computer chips domestically.
The visit comes after an all-time record was reached for illegal border crossings, with more than 2.3 million people detained after crossing illegally into the US in fiscal 2022, which ended Sept. 30 — an increase from 1.7 million in fiscal 2021, fewer than 500,000 in fiscal 2020 and nearly 1 million in fiscal 2019.
Critics blame the border crisis on Biden’s policies, including relaxing a Trump-era policy of quickly deporting border-crossers under a CDC COVID-19 rule and also ending a policy of requiring migrants to remain in Mexico to await court ruling on their asylum claims.
Republican Govs. Abbott and Ron DeSantis of Florida this year have bussed or flown thousands of migrants from the US-Mexico border to Democratic bastions such as New York City and Washington, DC, in an attempt to pressure Biden to adopt stricter policies.