By Jack Phillips
Former President Donald Trump vowed to renew his crackdown on illegal immigration while visiting the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Sunday.
“We’re going to take over that border and we’re going to make it the most secure border in our history,” President Trump said on Sunday in Texas alongside Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who endorsed the Republican frontrunner for his party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
While promising to target “gangs and thugs” who illegally cross the border, Mr. Abbott appeared alongside the former president at an event near the the U.S.–Mexico border, saying that it is only President Trump who can secure the border and restore “law and order.”
Responding to Mr. Abbott’s endorsement, President Trump told him, “I am going to make your job much easier” if elected next year. “You’ll be able to focus on other things in Texas,” he added.
Earlier Sunday, President Trump, who had endorsed Mr. Abbott for his reelection bid in 2021, served meals to Texas National Guard soldiers, troopers, and others who will be stationed at the border over Thanksgiving. The former president and Mr. Abbott handed out tacos, and the former president shook hands and posed for pictures.
“What you do is incredible, and you want it to be done right,” President Trump told them.
But the governor said that National Guard members and Texas troopers who are stationed at the border “should not be here at this time” and “should be at home.” He said that “the only reason why they are here is because we have a president of the United States of America who is not securing our border,” referring to President Joe Biden.
President Trump did not get into the policies he would pursue if elected. “We just need the walls. And it worked,” he said during the border event.
Among other proposals, the former president has vowed to block immigrants who support Hamas from entering the United States, and to send officials to pro-Hamas protests to detain and deport immigrants who publicly support the designated terrorist group.
During an Iowa event in October, President Trump told a crowd that he would increase travel bans from “terror-plagued countries” such as Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
“If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified. If you support Hamas or the ideology behind Hamas, you’re disqualified. And if you’re a communist, Marxist, or fascist, you are disqualified,” he said at the time.
Last week, former Trump immigration adviser Stephen Miller said that if reelected, President Trump would launch a “spectacular migration crackdown.”
“Any activists who doubt President Trump’s resolve in the slightest are making a drastic error: Trump will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown,” Mr. Miller told The New York Times. “The immigration legal activists won’t know what’s happening.”
The former acting director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Tom Homan, also told the NY Times that he intends to return to a Trump administration to “help to organize and run the largest deportation operation this country’s ever seen.”
On Sunday, Democrats tried to use the trip to portray President Trump’s plans as extreme. “Donald Trump is going after immigrants, our rights, our safety, and our democracy. And that is what really is on the ballot last year,” Biden reelection campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said on a conference call, reported The Associated Press.
Data and Polls
Since President Biden took office in early 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have arrested more than 7 million people who have illegally crossed into the United States. Republicans have said that the surge in illegal migration is due to the Biden administration’s policies, characterizing them as lax and insecure.
Polls have also shown that illegal immigration could weigh down on President Biden’s reelection chances. A survey from ABC News and The Washington Post last month found that 71 percent of Americans aren’t happy with the way the administration has handled immigration or the border—up from 61 percent since mid-July.
A Marquette Law School poll of registered voters conducted in late September gave President Trump a 24-point advantage over President Biden on handling immigration and border security issues, or 52 percent to 28 percent.
As for the presidential race, President Trump is continuing to dominate the Republican field. An aggregate of polls from RealClearPolitics shows that as of Sunday, the former president is leading second-place Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, by nearly 45 percentage points nationally.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.