The White House fired back at critics attacking President Joe Biden for saying he had “more important things” to do in Arizona than visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday.
Biden is in Arizona to visit a Taiwanese-owned chip manufacturing facility and celebrate efforts to fix the supply chain for the key resource. He faced heavy criticism from Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and others for his comment, but the White House now argues Biden was only reflecting the views of a majority of Americans.
“The President was clear that his top priority is investing in the American economy and in American communities, out-competing China, and bringing back American jobs from overseas. In fact, as Fox News’ own analysis showed, the economy is the top issue for most Americans. If anyone believes that shouldn’t be the President’s top priority too, they should say that out loud,” a White House spokesman told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“Of course, the President is also taking action to secure our border and build a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system,” the statement continued, adding that Biden has secured increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security. “President Biden is focused on real solutions, not political stunts. And if border security is such a top priority for Republican officials, voting against President Biden’s request for record funding for the Department of Homeland Security, as Representative Roy did, is an odd way to show it.”
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Both Roy and the top Border Patrol union lambasted Biden for his comments, saying he is burying “his head in the sand” rather than “doing his job.” The crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has only grown more severe under Biden’s administration, with border crossings breaking new records each month.
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“How the hell would he know? He’s never been to the border,” Roy told Fox News’ Caroline McKee on Tuesday. “It sure is something that’s pretty critically important to the people of Texas and frankly to the immigrants that are getting abused and dying. Fifty-three in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, getting raped in stash houses in South Texas.”
Roy went on to reference the flow of fentanyl across the border and the tens of thousands of lives it took in the U.S. last year.
“Poking his head in the sand isn’t going to actually be enough because he’s going to have to do something about it,” he said of Biden.
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd echoed Roy’s tone, saying Biden “cares more about politics than our children.”
“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of the American people, but to President Biden, it is an afterthought,” Judd told Fox News’ Bill Melugin. “With a record number of people and drugs, including deadly fentanyl, crossing our border illegally and evading apprehension, it is apparent Biden cares more about politics than our children, friends and neighbors. Biden’s record clearly proves he cares about politics, not about doing his job of protecting American lives.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also defended Biden’s comments later Tuesday, stating that the president is focused on confronting China.
“When the president first walked into the administration, the first thing he did was put forth a comprehensive immigration reform legislation,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “So, that showed his commitment to dealing with that issue. Look, the president was clear that his top priority is investing in the American economy and in American communities. And he’s focused on out-competing China and bringing back American jobs from overseas.”
The U.S. has seen record levels of illegal immigration throughout the Biden administration. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 230,000 border encounters in October alone, an all-time monthly record that broke the previous record set in September.
September data revealed that fiscal year 2022 ended with 2,378,944 migrant encounters, the highest ever recorded in a fiscal year. That figure does not include the 599,000 known “gotaways” that CBP sources told Fox News evaded capture over the same period.
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The Biden administration has repeatedly sought to dismiss border surges as a yearly pattern. While the southern border has seen a pattern of increases in migration each spring, the surges in both 2021 and 2022 far outpaced previous years, and that pace only escalated throughout the year.