President Biden took off from Joint Base Andrews aboard Air Force One on Sunday morning for his trip to El Paso, Texas, his first visit to the southern border since taking office two years ago.
Biden, 80, who is said to be “all in” on a reelection run in 2024 and is expected to announce his intentions in a couple of weeks, has been roundly criticized for his failure to control the number of migrants crossing the border into the US and for repealing a number of programs begun by former President Donald Trump that led to the escalation.
The president’s arrival at the border comes as US Border Patrol agents say they are “beyond frustrated” with the ongoing situation and dismiss his first visit to the region as too little, too late.
Biden is slated to spend part of Sunday in El Paso, where he will get a first-hand look at the immigration crisis and meet with local and border patrol officials, before heading to Mexico City where he will take part in a summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
He was accompanied on the flight by Homeland Security Secretary Alejando Mayorkas and Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar, Veronica Escobar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and a number of other administration officials, according to the White House.
“The president’s very much looking forward to seeing for himself firsthand what the border security situation looks like,” said John Kirby, White House national security spokesman, who is part of the contingent. “This is something that he wanted to see for himself.”
There were more than 2.4 million migrants crossing the nearly 2,000-mile length of the southern border with Mexico in fiscal year 2022, according to US Customs and Border Protection statistics released in October.
“We’re beyond frustrated that it’s taken him two years,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Fox News Digital last week. “We’re beyond frustrated that he allowed this issue to get as bad as it is, He’s not coming to the border of his own accord. He would have done that a long, long time ago.”