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Biden planning visit to U.S.-Mexico border

2023-01-04T21:18:10Z

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media, following an event touting economic and infrastructure spending plans, as he departs, at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, in Hebron, Kentucky, U.S., January 4, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he intends to visit the U.S.-Mexico border during an upcoming trip, a move that would come after frequent Republican criticism that his administration has failed to secure the border.

“That’s my intention,” Biden, a Democrat, told reporters when asked about the border trip. “We’re working out the details now.”

Biden is scheduled to travel to Mexico City on Jan. 9 and 10 for the North American Leaders’ Summit, where he will meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Biden, who took office in January 2021, has struggled operationally and politically with record numbers of migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and migration is expected to be on the agenda at the meeting.

Republicans have criticized Biden for encouraging migrant crossings with lenient border security policies, while Biden officials say they are trying to create a more orderly and humane system.

U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy, who is vying to become speaker of the House of Representatives as Republicans take control of the chamber this month, said in November that he had invited Biden to visit the southwest border with him.

McCarthy on Tuesday and Wednesday failed repeatedly to secure enough votes to become speaker, even following an endorsement by former President Donald Trump, one of the Republican Party’s most influential figures.

Reuters reported last week that the Biden administration is planning to use pandemic-era restrictions to expel many Cuban, Nicaraguan and Haitian migrants caught at the southwest border back to Mexico, while simultaneously allowing some to enter the United States by air on humanitarian grounds.

A U.S. official told Reuters at the time that the plan had not been finalized and it was unclear whether it might be announced before the meeting in Mexico.