US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address, opening with an attack on Donald Trump AFP

With eight months to go before a likely election rematch, President Joe Biden turned his State of the Union address into a platform to demand that Congress pass a series of measures to 'fix the border,' reminding Congress that Republicans would rather stall progress, as evidenced by their actions last month in which they "killed" the initiative.

Speaking before a Joint Session of Congress on Capitol Hill, Biden criticized alleged actions of former President Donald Trump to block the bill. He accused Trump of operating politically to persuade Republican lawmakers not to support a bipartisan initiative aimed at improving security along the border with Mexico.

Amid applause and heckles, Biden, without referring to Trump by name, asked Republicans to work together to fix the border and pledged not to lash out against immigrants.

"If my predecessor is watching, instead of playing politics and pressuring members of Congress to block this bill, join me in telling Congress to pass it," Biden said. "We can do it together. But here's what I will not do: I will not demonize immigrants, saying they are 'poisoning the blood of our country.' I will not separate families."

In late December, Trump, during a campaign rally in New Hampshire, asserted that immigrants 'are the lifeblood of our country.' In subsequent weeks, the former president doubled down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric, culminating in bombast over a bipartisan agreement to improve border security.

In response, Biden said in his State of the Union address that since November he has been negotiating with lawmakers in both aisles of Congress to strengthen border measures.

"That bipartisan deal would hire 1,500 more border security agents and officers. 100 more immigration judges to help tackle a backload of 2 million cases. 4,300 more asylum officers and new policies so they can resolve cases in 6 months instead of 6 years. 100 more high-tech drug detection machines to significantly increase the ability to screen and stop vehicles from smuggling fentanyl into America that's killing thousands of children," Biden said.

The president claimed that the bill would give him new emergency authority to temporarily shut down the border when the number of migrants entering is overwhelming.

This comes as recent surveys indicate a majority of U.S. citizens believe the Biden Administration is not doing a good job in addressing border security.

Now Biden is urging lawmakers from both parties to "act now" to secure the border.

"And if my predecessor is watching instead of playing politics and pressuring members of Congress to block this bill, join me in telling to Congress to pass it," Biden said.

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