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Biden and Trump to visit U.S.-Mexico border on same day this week

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U.S. President Joe Biden is set to make a rare trip to the US-Mexico border on Thursday, setting up a split screen with 2024 rival former president Donald Trump, who has made Biden’s handling of illegal immigration a centerpiece of his reelection effort.

Trump is expected to give remarks at Eagle Pass, Tex. on Thursday, according to a source familiar with his plans.

During his visit, Biden is expected to meet with U.S. Border Patrol agents, law enforcement and local leaders in Brownsville, Tex. to discuss the need for a border agreement, according to a White House official. Brownsville and Eagle Pass are about 300 miles apart.

Biden’s visit comes as he considers sweeping executive action to restrict migrants’ ability to seek asylum at the U.S. southern border if they crossed illegally. Biden has repeatedly lambasted congressional Republicans for failing to pass a bipartisan compromise spending package that included significant concessions on border policy as he tries to flip the script on the GOP, which has slammed Biden over the border throughout his presidency – including impeaching his Homeland Security secretary over his handling of the border.

The failure of the package came in large part due to opposition from Trump, who hopes to wield the border as a political cudgel against Biden.

The New York Times was first to report on Biden’s visit.

White House officials reached out over the weekend to Texas lawmakers and officials who oversee border towns ahead of Biden’s visit.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett told CNN the Texas congressional delegation is aware of the president’s trip to the border, but said there were no immediate plans for members to join Biden as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week to try to avert a government shutdown.

Since last month, a group of Texas mayors have repeatedly called on Biden to visit the southern border and have called on Congress to pass the national security supplemental package that would provide funding to address some of the concerns along the southern border.

White House officials have been having ongoing conversations with local Texas officials for several weeks about issues arising at the southern border.

Biden has previously visited the border once as president, traveling to El Paso, Tex., in January 2023, where he visited a migrant respite center but did not appear to see or meet with migrants.

In a statement responding to news of Biden’s planned visit, Trump’s campaign said Biden “has had three years to visit the border and fix the crisis he created.”

“Now Biden’s handlers are sending him there on the same day as President Trump’s publicly reported trip, not because they actually want to solve the problem, but because they know Biden is losing terribly,” Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said.

Trump repeatedly made border visits during his time as president – and since. During an event near the Texas-Mexico border in November, Trump escalated his anti-immigration rhetoric and received the endorsement of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has taken his own steps to undermine Biden’s authority on border policy.

Trump, who has said that undocumented immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the United States, has vowed to conduct the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history” if he wins the White House in November.

He’s planning for a widespread expansion of his administration’s immigration policies that would restrict both legal and illegal immigration. The plans include rounding up undocumented immigrations and placing them in detention camps to await deportation.

Biden’s campaign called Trump’s proposed policies “un-American,” “inhumane” and “draconian.”

But the executive actions Biden is considering have drawn some comparisons to controversial measures Trump took while in office. Hoping to spur passage of the failed immigration bill, Biden said earlier this month he would be open to the idea of shutting down the border.

The Biden administration has taken other steps to try to tighten asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Last year, the administration released a regulation that largely barred migrants who traveled through other countries on their way to the U.S. southern border from applying for asylum in the United States — marking a departure from decades-long protocol.

CNN’s Kate Sullivan and Camila DeChalus contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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