President Joe Biden told reporters Wednesday at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport that it’s his “intention” to visit the southern border for the first time since taking office nearly two years ago.
Reporters asked Biden about the border while the president promoted his administration’s infrastructure agenda at Kentucky’s Brent Spence Bridge.
Amid a record-breaking number of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico, Fox News reported that Biden said he intends to visit the border during his trip to the North American Leaders’ Summit on January 9-10, where he has meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Sources allegedly told The Wall Street Journal that Biden would not make a policy announcement if he visited the border.
The president’s remarks come after he told reporters last month that “there are more important things going on” than visiting the U.S. southern border while in Arizona to tout Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s announcement of a second manufacturing chip plant in the Grand Canyon State.
Under Biden’s rule, his administration has done away with Trump-era immigration policies, which have resulted in a higher number of overall encounters at the border.
Pew Research reported the U.S. Border Patrol reported encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in the 2021 fiscal year were more than quadruple the number of the prior fiscal year and the highest annual total on record.
The U.S. saw 2,378,944 encounters at the border in fiscal year 2022, excluding the nearly 600,000 known “gotaways” who escaped custody altogether.
Customs and Border Protection sources reported that authorities encounter an average of 6,858 crossings daily.
By some estimates, there have been more than 4.5 million encounters at the border under the Biden administration alone. Millions of those individuals have been released into the U.S.
Biden’s potential visit also comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 last week to keep the pandemic-era limit on immigration, referred to as Title 42, in place indefinitely, which allows officials to turn away migrants at the border to prevent the spread of COVID.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, the only dissenting conservative justice to join all of the Supreme Court’s liberal justices in Tuesday’s ruling, said, “the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis.”
“And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency,” Gorsuch wrote. “We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.”
Customs and Border Protection officials warned lawmakers that approximately 50,000 foreigners were waiting to cross into the United States once Title 42 ended.
The Biden administration has pushed for the pandemic-era policy to end as immigration advocates filed lawsuits arguing Title 42 is outdated since COVID treatments have improved and that it “goes against American and international obligations to people fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution.”