Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Joe Biden (L) and Donald Trump were both in Texas on Thursday AFP

President Biden and former President Donald Trump made their way to Texas separately on Thursday, pushing their own agendas on immigration. As they actively vie for their respective parties' nominations ahead of the November general election, the Lone Star State witnessed a dramatic split-screen moment. Against the backdrop of Texas, they engaged in discussions presenting starkly opposing perspectives on immigration and outlined their visions for the country's future.

Biden went to Brownsville, Texas, a city in the Rio grande Valley that has historically seen large influxes of migrants. He met with Border Patrol, law enforcement and local officials before giving his remarks.

"Brownsville, Texas, provides a very good glimpse of how dynamic and challenging the migration phenomenon is," Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, told reporters on Air Force One.

Before the President arrived at Brownsville, small groups of pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered outside the local airport, where he was scheduled to arrive.

A growing number of Democrats have been disillusioned by Biden's handling of the war in Gaza and his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu. The discontent was most recently seen in Michigan's primary elections, when more than 100,000 of the state's primary voters cast ballots for "uncommitted" in the race, as a warning for the incumbent and his recent decisions in the Middle East.

Similarly, a small group of pro-immigrant protestors waited for the president's arrival at the airport.

"Biden, escucha, estamos en la lucha," they chanted, (Biden, listen, we're in the struggle).

US President Joe Biden in January visited a church in Charleston where a racist massacre took place in 2015
Biden visited Brownsville, Texas to give remarks on immigration

Before starting his speech, Biden was briefed by local officials on the current state of the city's border. As he began his remarks, the president acknowledged the Texas wildfires, mocking his "Neanderthal friends" among Republicans who deny climate change.

As he continued his speech, Biden emphasized the need for more resources, highlighting the backlog of asylum cases being faced by USCIS. Hearing a response on an asylum case takes more than 6 years.

"They desperately need resources. It's time for us to move on this. We can't wait any longer," the President said as he re-frames himself as a leader focused on solutions in the face of immigration backlash.

Notably, the President communicated his disapproval of the recent bipartisan bill that was struck down by Republicans, who were encouraged by Trump. The president said, if Congress had passed the bill, it would've given him the ability to temporarily "shut down the border." He also encouraged Congress to reconsider the bill.

Donald Trump back in court
Trump went down south to Eagle Pass, Texas, to talk about the "Biden invasion" and his perceived surge in migrant crimes AFP

As per Trump, he traveled around 300 miles away from Brownsville to Eagle Pass, a border city that has become a common backdrop for politicians who want to show they are tough on immigration. He was joined by Gov. Greg Abbott and Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, the main union for Border Patrol agents.

"Nice weather, beautiful day, but a very dangerous border," the former President told reporters when he landed in Del Rio, Texas, about an hour away from his destination. "But we're going to take care of it."

Throughout his campaign, Trump has continuously communicated his plans to enact an extreme expansion of his anti-immigration policies if he returns to the White House. Allegedly, he is going to plan mass deportations, build camps in the United States to detain undocumented immigrants and refuse asylum claims on the basis of assertions that they carry infections like tuberculosis.

Before his speech, the former president toured an area near a boat landing that Texas officials use to patrol the Rio Grande.

"Biden migrant crimes" is the phrase Trump used to describe a "migrant crime wave." He also claimed migrants are coming from jails and mental institutions alike, and that foreign leaders are "dumping" criminals in the U.S. These accusations however, have not been proven and seem to be baseless.

The GOP leader also referenced the death of Lanken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia, who was allegedly murdered by a Venezuelan man who had recently crossed the border illegally. Her death has become a focal point in the immigration debate.

Nevertheless, despite recent incidents of crimes and a perceived increase in violence stemming from immigrants, many cities with a large number of migrants— such as New York City— have seen no evidence of a related crime spike.

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