ABC News’ Martha Raddatz insisted to Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, Sunday that President Biden never encouraged migrants to come to the border.
On “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Raddatz spoke with the governor ahead of former President Trump’s Title 42 border policies being set to expire on Wednesday. Texas cities, in particular, could be set to see an even bigger influx of migrants with El Paso, Texas, already declaring a state of emergency due to the border crisis.
While Abbott has frequently criticized Biden and other Democratic leaders for encouraging the border crisis, Raddatz argued that Biden himself never encouraged open borders or told migrants to “come on over.”
“You talk about the border wall, you talk about open borders, I don’t think I’ve ever heard President Biden say, ‘We have an open border, come on over,’” Raddatz said.
Though Raddatz suggested Biden never encouraged the migrant crisis, the president told migrants “you should come” while calling for a more lenient border policy during a 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate.
“They deserve to be heard. That’s who we are,” Biden said at the time. “We’re a nation that says, ‘You want to flee, and you’re fleeing oppression, you should come.'”
Since then, Biden has explicitly said “don’t come over,” though migrants speaking with ABC have stated that they came “basically” because Biden was elected president. In addition, exclusive Fox News photos have shown images of migrants wearing t-shirts reading “Biden please let us in.”
Despite this, Raddatz suggested that Republicans such as Abbott and Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., were more to blame for migrants getting the idea that the borders are open.
“People I have heard say [the border is open] are you, are former President Trump, Ron DeSantis – that message reverberates in Mexico and beyond, so they do get the message that it is an open border and smugglers use all those kinds of statements,” Raddatz said.
Abbott responded, “It was known from the time that Joe Biden got elected that Joe Biden supported open borders. It’s known by the cartels who have sophisticated information whether or not the Biden administration is going to enforce the immigration laws or not is known across the world but most importantly known among the cartels.”
Reports from the Department of Homeland Security have estimated that the border could see 9,000 to 15,000 crossings a day after Title 42 expires. Though the White House has insisted that there are preparations in place for when the policy ends, the Biden administration has hesitated to provide specific steps that will be taken.
Raddatz instead questioned Abbott how he himself plans to help the border crisis as opposed to President Biden.
“How do you play into that? What can you do better?” Raddatz asked.
“So, we have every level of government doing everything we can to prevent people from coming into the country illegally, or are repelling them or are arresting them and putting them behind bars,” Abbott said.