President Joe Biden on Dec. 6 addressed why he isn’t going to the border while visiting a border state.
“Because there are more important things going on,” Biden told reporters outside the White House in Washington.
“They’re going to invest billions of dollars in a new enterprise in the state,” Biden added.
Biden was departing for Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico.
Under Biden, illegal immigration has exploded to record levels while deportations have plunged.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the top Republican in the House, and other critics have questioned why Biden has not visited the border to see firsthand what is happening.
McCarthy said he invited Biden to travel to the border when they met on Nov. 29.
The White House declined to say whether the president accepted the invitation.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that the Biden administration was interested in putting forth solutions to the crisis rather than a visit.
“We’re asking for Republican officials to come and work with us and let’s have a bipartisan agreement on immigration, instead of doing political stunts, instead of doing what they’re doing: going to the border, not actually coming up with any real ideas about that,” she said this week.
Biden was flying to Phoenix, where he was set to tour a factory that will manufacture computer chips.
The factory is owned by TSMC, a Taiwanese company, which has said it is investing $40 billion into the factory and another like it.
“This investment will bring new jobs and economic opportunity to Arizona,” Jean-Pierre said, crediting the CHIPS and Science Act that Congress passed and Biden signed into law earlier in the year.
Biden was going to deliver remarks about “how his economic plan is leading to a manufacturing boom, rebuilding supply chains, and creating good-paying jobs in Arizona and across the country” according to a copy of his schedule distributed by the White House.
Biden was scheduled to leave the Washington area at 9:45 a.m. and land in Maricopa County at 12:40 p.m. Biden was scheduled to leave Arizona about four hours later and arrive back in the Washington area around 10:20 p.m.
Under Biden, new records have been set for illegal immigrant apprehensions at the U.S.–Mexico border for a fiscal year and a calendar year.
Some 1.7 million apprehensions were logged in fiscal year 2021, according to Customs and Border Protection data. “That number jumped to a new record, 2.3 million, in fiscal year 2022.
The figures do not include “gotaways,” or the estimated number of illegal aliens that illegally entered the country but evaded border agents.
Border agents made 212,608 apprehensions in November, according to preliminary numbers obtained by The Epoch Times. That was up from 174,845 in November 2021, which included Office of Field Operations apprehensions and was the highest number in a November in recorded history.
In parallel with the unprecedented spike in illegal immigration, the Biden administration has curbed other aspects of enforcement, including lessening the use of deportation.
All illegal immigrants in the United States who have been rejected for asylum or otherwise aren’t waiting for their case to be heard are supposed to be removed. The government across administrations has rarely taken such action, and the enforcement has decreased significantly since Biden took office.
The administration deported just 59,011 illegal immigrants in fiscal 2021. That was down from 185,884 in fiscal 2020 and the lowest since fiscal 1995.
Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.