Last Wednesday, former President Donald J. Trump visited the Texas – Mexico border alongside Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. In the past few months, the GOP has sought to keep the border a central point of their agenda, with Gov. Abbott pledging to finish it via a crowdfunding scheme.
Gov. Abbott, bolstered by recent polling that shows that Texans support his bid to pick up where Trump left off building the wall, decided to ignore Biden’s efforts to create a more “humane” immigration system.
“We did a hell of a job,” Trump claimed during a briefing at the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Weslaco Regional Office, even though the number of unaccompanied children and families encountered by Border Patrol has dropped for two months in a row. Also, the number of families attempting to cross the border has not reached the numbers witnessed throughout Trump’s presidency. Mr. Abbott also claimed that the situation had become “amazing and disastrous” on the border.
Mr. Trump initially planned 738 miles of barriers alongside the U.S. – Mexico border, including refurbishing or rebuilding existing walls and fences that already existed in the entire 2,000-mile border. However, only 453 miles were completed and 373 of those miles replaced existing fences and walls. Of the total invested in the wall, only 17 miles were constructed in Texas, all in the Río Grande Valley, less than 5%, so when he says “Now we have an open, really dangerous border.”, it’s difficult for Texans to believe him.
Texan democrats harshly criticized Mr. Trump’s visit to the border. U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville blasted Mr. Abbott for inviting the former president to encourage a political circus in Texas:
“Instead of prioritizing Texans and making sure we grow our economy and get people back to work, Governor Abbott is creating a distracting media circus with a failed former president.”