Texas governor confronts Biden at airport after complaining he wasn’t invited to border visit

Joe Biden was confronted by the governor of Texas on the tarmac on Sunday after the latter complained hours earlier that he had only been extended an invitation to meet him as an afterthought.

The moment occurred as Mr Biden touched down in the Lone Star State for a trip to the US-Mexico border, where he met with agents from US Customs and Border Protection as well as local elected leaders.

The trip comes as the president has long faced criticism from conservatives for not viewing the situation at the US-Mexico border firsthand, as well as for rolling back controversial Trump-era immigration policies that were long decried by Democrats as inhumane.

Greg Abbott handed the president a letter outlining his concerns about the number of migrants encountered in the US-Mexico border region, which has steadily risen in the two years Mr Biden has been in office. The letter concluded with a list of demands that included steps not even taken by the Trump administration during the latter’s four years in power.

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Those steps included declaring drug cartels to be international terrorist groups, potentially authorising US military action against them, as well as greatly expanding detentions and deportations of undocumented immigrants. He also seeks that the Biden administration cease releasing migrants while their asylum claims are adjudicated, and continue construction of border fencing ordered built by Donald Trump.

It was a laundry list of steps the president is highly unlikely to take, especially given the unlikelihood of the White House taking any steps to try and work with Republicans in the Senate to pass immigration reform legislation; that possibility all but died with the election of a GOP majority in the House largely seen as beholden to the far right.

President Joe Biden meets Texas Governor Greg Abbott in El Paso, Texas (REUTERS)
President Joe Biden meets Texas Governor Greg Abbott in El Paso, Texas (REUTERS)

Mr Abbott in particular has faced scathing criticism from Democrats in recent months over a busing campaign that has led to groups of Central- and South American migrants being dropped off in cities and towns controlled by Democratic elected officials, including outside of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC (home of the vice president).

In many cases, those migrant bus caravans have ended with large groups of migrants including children being dropped off in the dead of night with little to no coordination between local governments and only volunteer groups available to assist the migrants in finding shelter or further transportation to another destination.