Trump visits border wall to berate Biden

·2-min read

Former US president Donald Trump will visit the US-Mexico border as he seeks to reclaim the spotlight, riding a wave of Republican attacks on his successor Joe Biden over the rise in migrants caught entering the United States.

Wednesday's trip with Texas Governor Greg Abbott to an unfinished section of border wall near Weslaco at the southern tip of Texas is the second public appearance this week by Trump.

Trump pilloried Biden at an Ohio rally on Saturday, his first such event since leaving the White House, accusing him of having "dismantled America's border defences and incited a flood of illegal migrants like this country has never seen".

Since taking office five months ago, Biden has reversed many of Trump's restrictive policies and pledged a more humane system.

He halted construction of the former president's signature border wall and ended a program that forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait in Mexico pending resolution of their US asylum cases.

Under Biden, arrests at the southwest border have risen to the highest monthly levels in two decades, an increase Republicans have blamed on more welcoming policies.

Although Republicans have signalled immigration will be a focal point of their campaign to retake control of Congress next year, a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 4420 adults suggests their attacks are having little effect.

About 10 per cent of those polled ranked immigration as the nation's top priority in the June 11-17 poll, down five points from a similar survey in April.

Among Republicans, 19 per cent listed immigration as a top priority, down 10 points from April.

Americans' approval of Biden's handling of border issues is nearly unchanged over the past few months, with 47 per cent saying they disapproved of his leadership on immigration, while 40 per cent said they approved.

Biden officials say poverty, crime, corruption and the effects of climate change have driven migrants north from parts of Central America and defend the administration's approach to the border.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who Biden tasked with addressing the root causes of migration into the United States from Central America, visited the border near El Paso on Friday.

Many Republicans, including Trump and Abbott, took shots at Harris for not visiting sooner.

"This issue cannot be reduced to a political issue," Harris said during her visit.

"We're talking about children, we're talking about families, we're talking about suffering."

Abbott said in a statement Harris was ignoring the "real problem areas" along the border and said she would "fail in her mission if she refuses to speak to residents of the Del Rio sector whose homes and ranches are being overrun by gangs and smugglers".

Trump has flirted publicly with the prospect of running for president again in 2024, with Abbott also a potential contender for the Republican nomination.

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