Biden challenges Trump to drop opposition to bipartisan border security bill

In Brownsville, Texas, Biden told Trump to "stop playing politics."

February 29, 2024, 6:20 PM

President Joe Biden, speaking in Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday, challenged former President Donald Trump to drop his opposition to bipartisan Senate legislation that would bring more resources to deal with record migrant crossings as the two men faced off in a split-screen duel at the southern border.

"I understand my predecessor is in Eagle Pass today," Biden said, shortly after Trump spoke about 300 miles away at the border crossing that's become a flashpoint in the 2024 election.

"What I would say to Mr. Trump, instead of playing policy with this issue, instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation, join me or I'll join you in telling the Congress to pass this bipartisan border security bill," he said. "We can do it together, you know, and I know it's the toughest, most efficient, most effective border security bill this country's ever seen. So, instead of playing politics with the issue, why don't we just get together and get it done."

President Joe Biden speaks about immigration at the Brownsville Station during a visit to the US-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, on Feb. 29, 2024.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Biden said it's "long past time to act," saying House Speaker Mike Johnson "needs to put this bill on the floor."

"The majority of Democrats and Republicans in both houses support this legislation, until someone came along and said, don't do that, it'll benefit the incumbent," Biden said. "That's a hell of a way to do business in America for such a serious problem. We need to act."

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at Shelby Park during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, on Feb. 29, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Eric Gay/AP

The president said Johnson and other Republicans need to "show a little spine."

"You remember who the heck we work for? We work for the American people, not the Democratic Party, the Republican Party. We work for the American people and let's remember who we are. We're the United States of America."

During his visit, the president received multiple briefings from officials on challenges they face at the border.

Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Peter Flores outlined issues his agency deals with detecting narcotics and weapons at the border, highlighting the need for more funding.

President Joe Biden greets US Border Patrol agents as he visits the US-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, on Feb. 29, 2024.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Biden thanked Border Patrol agents, saying, "We're going to get you what you need, come hell or high water."

The president was also briefed by Jennifer Higgins, deputy director U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Asylum Officer Catisha Jackson.

Jackson told the president she "loves being an asylum officer" but "we're overwhelmed."

"We have the wherewithal to do this, we have the capacity to do this," Biden said to Jackson. "I promise you, we're going to fight like the devil to get you this bipartisan legislation that Republicans and Democrats supported."

Related Topics