Trump Visits US–Mexico Border as Texas Governor Endorses Him

Both criticized the current administration's border policies, after a Thanksgiving event.
Trump Visits US–Mexico Border as Texas Governor Endorses Him
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (L) listens as Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks to Texas state troopers and guardsmen during a Thanksgiving meal at the South Texas International Airport in Edinburg, Texas, on Nov. 19, 2023. (Eric Gay/AP Photo)
Catherine Yang

Former President Donald Trump visited the Rio Grande Valley in Texas near the U.S.–Mexico border on Nov. 19, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for a Thanksgiving-related event and speeches.

The former president and current presidential candidate served Thanksgiving meals to law enforcement including the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety personnel, with everyone stopping for handshakes and selfies as they received their lunches.

"Texas would not be Texas and America would not be America without the service that you provide," Mr. Abbott said, thanking the law enforcement members who wouldn't be able to take time off on Thanksgiving Day. As he stopped to introduce President Trump, the room erupted in cheers.

"I know what you do, I know really well, I've been here many times," President Trump told the officers. "You take the hard way out, but it's also the right way out, so I just wanted to thank you, you are incredible people."

After thanking the law enforcement and stopping to take group pictures, President Trump gave an outdoor speech on border security and immigration policy, where other supporters had gathered.

There, Mr. Abbott officially endorsed President Trump for president in 2024.

"We need a president who's going to secure the border. We need a president who's going to restore law and order in the United States of America ... we need a president who's going to restore world peace, as opposed to this outbreak of warfare under Joe Biden," he said.

"We need Donald J. Trump back as our President of the United States of America."

President Trump said the current security and economic issues in America and extending abroad is possibly "the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country" and repeated his campaign promise to secure the border.

President Trump reminded the crowd that he had campaigned on border issues in 2016, and said he had improved them to the point that his 2020 campaign team told him to stop talking about the border, because Americans had lost interest. The same day, his campaign released a report outlining the 45th president's border accomplishments.
"You're not going to have to worry about the border," he said in a speech in which he repeatedly thanked the law enforcement departments still trying to secure the border.

Border Issues

Border security has become a major issue since President Trump left office, as states with border towns have been inundated with record numbers of illegal immigrants. Some have, in turn, been busing thousands of them to blue "sanctuary" cities with officials that previously claimed to welcome illegal immigration. As a result, officials in New York City and Chicago have reversed course, calling on the Biden administration to stem illegal immigration and provide aid to make up for what their city budgets can no longer support.

Mr. Abbott, who President Trump endorsed in 2021, has been a supporter of President Trump and his immigration policies.

The governor is expected to sign legislation that would allow the arrest of anyone crossing the border without documentation. It includes provisions such as significant prison sentences for smuggling, and allocates $1.5 billion for border security efforts. He called the measure, which is the fourth attempt at such a law, a "historic progress for border security."

His administration's Operation Lone Star, a multiagency effort to secure the border in Texas, has already led to the apprehension of more than 484,000 illegal immigrants, according to the governor's office.

Biden Policies

As he campaigns, President Trump touted the southern border as "the most secure" during his presidency and has heavily criticized President Joe Biden's reversal of many of his policies, saying it would have stayed secure if President Biden had done nothing.

Gov. Abbott criticized President Biden on Nov. 19 as well, saying law enforcement officers wouldn't be missing Thanksgiving if not for his policies.

After taking office, President Biden halted construction of President Trump's border wall, declaring "not another foot" of it would be built while he was in office. Earlier this year, however, the Department of Homeland Security authorized some wall construction, subsequently needing to explain that the funds had been appropriated for only such construction during the previous administration.

The Biden 2024 presidential campaign recently criticized President Trump's approach to border security and immigration.

"This is about hurting our Latino community, hurting our families and family separation," María Carolina Casado, the Biden campaign's Hispanic media director, told CBS News.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez, President Biden's campaign manager, said during a subsequent press call that President Trump "has been unapologetically open about the extreme, inhumane and fundamentally un-American policies that he would enact if he found his way back into the Oval Office," according to CBS.