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Biden to speak on immigration on Thursday, may visit border next week

Administration officials have been discussing new measures aimed at curbing illegal crossings by migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and possibly Haiti

Texas National Guard troops block migrants from entering a high-traffic border crossing area along the Rio Grande in El Paso on Dec. 20 as viewed from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. (John Moore/Photographer: John Moore/Getty I)
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President Biden told reporters he will deliver a speech on border security on Thursday and is planning to visit the U.S. southern border as part of an upcoming trip to Mexico City for a regional summit.

Biden said he wanted to see “peace and security” at the border and is “going to see what’s going on” in comments made to reporters Wednesday after traveling to Kentucky for an event with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to tout federal infrastructure funding.

“I’m going to be making a speech tomorrow on border security, and you’ll hear more about it tomorrow,” the president said.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the president’s plans, but administration officials have been discussing new border measures aimed at curbing illegal crossings by migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and possibly Haiti.

Texas National Guard blocks migrant flow across border in El Paso

The president’s Republican critics have pressured him for months to visit the southern border at a time when federal authorities are making record numbers of immigration arrests. Biden and his top officials have dismissed that criticism, insisting he’s had more urgent priorities to attend to.

It was not clear where Biden might stop along the U.S. southern border, nor whether he would make the visit before or after planned meetings in Mexico City on Monday. Biden is scheduled to sit down with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the North American Leaders’ Summit. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will join him on the trip.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told reporters last month that Biden’s trip would feature new initiatives to “address climate and environmental challenges” and “help increase North America’s competitiveness, protect the health and safety of our citizens, jointly respond, of course, to irregular migration in the region, and advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Latest U.S. border statistics show waning use of Title 42 by Biden administration

U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded nearly 2.4 million arrests along the Mexico border during the 2022 fiscal year, an all-time high. Since Biden took office, an increasing number of migrants have been arriving from a growing number of nations around the world, straining U.S. capacity and border communities. New arrivals typically surrender to U.S. authorities, the first step in applying for humanitarian protection. The majority are released into the United States while their cases are pending in U.S. immigration courts.

Recent attempts by the Biden administration to halt two Trump-era border polices, known as Title 42 and “Remain in Mexico,” have been blocked in the courts.