Biden and Trump visit US-Mexico border amid immigration crisis

US President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump made separate visits to the US-Mexico border in Texas, competing over who has the best approach to tackling immigration.

The simultaneous visits by the two politicians on Thursday, 523km (325 miles) apart on the banks of the winding border river, highlighted the extent to which illegal immigration has become a hot-button issue ahead of a likely election rematch between the pair in November.

Biden, who visited the Rio Grande Valley city of Brownsville, long the busiest corridor for border crossings, underlined the necessity of a bipartisan border security bill, which was tanked by Republicans on Trump’s orders. He asked the Republican front-runner to join him in supporting a congressional push for more funding and tighter restrictions.

“Here’s what I would say to Mr Trump,” Biden said. “Instead of playing politics with the issue, join me, or I’ll join you in telling the Congress to pass this bill. You know, and I know it’s the toughest, most efficient, most effective border security bill this country’s ever seen.”

Trump met Texas National Guard soldiers who had put up razor-wire fencing at the river’s edge in Eagle Pass, a few hundred miles northwest of Brownsville. He adopted a more bellicose tone.

“This is like a war,” he said. “They’re being let into our country, and it’s horrible,” he said, declaring that migrants arriving at the border were “criminals” and “terrorists”.

Trump also brought up the recent death of a 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia, killed while out on a jog on her college campus.

The case, in which the prime suspect is a Venezuelan migrant, is now at the centre of the immigration debate.

Trump placed the blame on Biden’s shoulders. “Crooked Joe has the blood of countless innocent victims,” he said. “It’s so many stories to tell, so many horrible stories.”