US elections: The path to the White House starts at the border. usa elections

Nursing student Laken Riley, 22, went for a run at the University of Georgia in Athens on Thursday, February 22. He never returned to his room. She was found dead the same day in a wooded area of ​​the campus. The next day, Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan who crossed the border illegally in September 2022, was arrested and charged with murder. At that time this tragic incident became a political weapon. “Corrupt Joe Biden’s border invasion is destroying our country and killing our citizens!” Former President Donald Trump wrote on his social networks calling Ibarra a “monster”. Although studies deny a link between immigration and crime, Trump has reclaimed the xenophobic script that paved the way for him to the White House in 2016. The border has become a battleground for the November presidential elections. The joint visit of Biden and Trump to the banks of the Rio Grande this Thursday testifies to this.

The agenda for the elections to be held on November 5 has been loaded. The economy, abortion, insecurity, the age of President Biden, 81 (and to a lesser extent Trump, 77), the risks to democracy, the former president’s criminal charges and even foreign policy, which sometimes moves very little. Voters, they will influence the outcome. However, according to a Gallup poll published this week, Americans see immigration as the country’s main problem. 28% of citizens (including 57% of Republicans), more than ever, cite it as the first problem during the Biden presidency after the avalanche of illegal arrivals, which hit a record of 250,000 crossings last month in December.

The labor market has absorbed (and needs) labor from abroad. Immigration partly explains the strength of the US economy and its unexpected resistance to rising interest rates. However, the massive influx of immigrants has also led to the collapse of social services in many cities. Even Democratic mayors of cities like New York, Chicago and Denver have issued warnings.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, during a visit to the border with Mexico in Brownsville (Texas) on February 29.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, during a visit to the border with Mexico in Brownsville (Texas) on February 29. Kevin Lamarck (Reuters)

l Democrats know immigration is a liability to Biden’s re-election. For this reason, the President has decided to take an aggressive approach, as shown by his visit to Brownsville (Texas) this Thursday. Wearing a black hat and no tie, he accompanied Border Patrol agents to the banks of the Rio Grande, which serves as the natural border with Mexico. He also met with customs personnel, members of asylum and reception services, and immigration judges.

Nearly 500 kilometers away, Trump peeked from behind a wire fence on the banks of the same river in Eagle Pass, which has become ground zero in the political battle over immigration controls between the federal administration and Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Was with the former President on his visit.

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Both agreed on the diagnosis. The immigration system is broken and the situation is untenable: “It’s very simple. It’s time to act. It’s long past time to act,” said Biden, who briefly explained the crux of the problem. Immigrants who cross the border illegally claim asylum if they are detained. “The process to reach a decision on an asylum application takes five to seven years. Here you all know it, but people in the rest of the country don’t understand it. “That’s too long,” Biden said. “This encourages more people to come into the country,” he said.

Democrats and Republicans agreed on a bill that provides more resources for immigration services and will allow cases to be processed in six months, according to Biden. Immigrants are willing to pay mafias thousands of dollars to cross north because they know that getting there guarantees them a long-term stay. “If cases spike, it will have a serious deterrent effect on people coming in,” he said at the Brownsville Border Patrol Command Center in front of dozens of agents. “Six months, seven years… two different things,” he said. “They’re not going to pay thousands of dollars to the cartel for that trip knowing they’ll be paid quickly.”

The rule would also give the President emergency authority to temporarily close the border when the number of crossings exceeds certain limits and exceeds the capacity of immigration services. However, when that legislation was on its way to being approved, Republicans backed down due to pressure from Trump. This allows Democrats to argue that their opponents do not want a solution, but rather a problem that will give them an electoral advantage. “It was going to be approved. “Then, it got derailed because of partisan politics,” Biden lamented in Brownsville, before appealing directly to Trump.

“I understand that my predecessor is in Eagle Pass today. This is what I would say to Mr. Trump: Instead of playing politics with this issue, join me, or I will join you, in asking Congress to approve this bipartisan border security bill. I will support him, he said while appealing for compromise and unanimous solution.

Political commitment and respect for the law are not Trump’s ideas. When the former president said a few months ago that, if re-elected, he would be a dictator for a day, immigration was an objective: “We’re going to close the border and we’re going to drill, drill and drill. . After that, I am not a dictator. And just as in the 2016 campaign he accused Mexico of sending “rapists” and “criminals,” this time, Trump, the son, grandson and spouse of immigrants, uses xenophobic rhetoric with echoes of the Nazism in which he Says immigrants are “poisoning the blood of the country.”

Former President Donald Trump on the border with Mexico at Eagle Pass on February 29.
Former President Donald Trump on the border with Mexico at Eagle Pass on February 29. Go Nakamura (Reuters)

In Eagle Pass, this Thursday, the former president used the murder of Laken Riley to say that Biden “has the blood of countless innocent victims (on his hands).” “The monster accused of death is an illegal alien immigrant who was allowed into our country and released into our communities by the corrupt Joe Biden,” he said.

Calling the murder a heinous crime, Vanessa Cardenas, executive director of America’s Voice, an anti-immigrant organization, wrote in an email that “the way Trump is using this tragic event for political gain is disgusting.” “This is strategic racism; A well-worn strategy from a well-known playbook with the sole purpose of turning this tragedy into fodder for political ends and the narrative that migrants and asylum seekers are dangerous threats when the facts prove otherwise. He added, “Study after study, the facts are clear: immigrants have lower crime rates than the rest of the population.”

However, the former president is willing to take that strategy to the limit for his own electoral gain: “They come from jails and they come from prisons and they come from mental institutions and they come from asylums and they’re terrorists, ” They said. Eagle Pass. “The United States is being invaded by Biden’s immigration crime. He added, “This is a new form of brutal violation of our country.” The people who are leading the “attack”, he said, are “people of fighting age” who look like “warriors”. “It’s like a war,” he said. Of course, it’s a political war.

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