Trump visits Texas near US-Mexico border as he escalates anti-immigrant rhetoric

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday visited Texas near the US-Mexico border as he escalates his anti-immigrant rhetoric and campaigns on hard-line immigration policy proposals.

During the visit, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination received the endorsement of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

“We need Donald J. Trump back as our president of the United States of America,” the Republican governor said at an event with the former president in Edinburg, Texas.

Speaking in front of a small crowd at the South Texas International Airport, Trump bashed President Joe Biden over his handling of the border, arguing the US now has the “most unsecure border in the history, I believe, really, of the world.”

The former president has been ramping up his rhetoric on the campaign trail, promising to conduct the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history” if he wins the White House next year. He has said that undocumented immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country” in comments that echoed White supremacist rhetoric and has compared migrants who come to the US to the fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

“There’s never been anything like this. Our country is being invaded. This is an invasion,” Trump, who has made curtailing illegal immigration a cornerstone of his 2024 campaign, declared at a recent rally in Hialeah, Florida.

Trump is planning a widespread expansion of his administration’s hard-line immigration policies that would restrict both legal and illegal immigration, should he be elected to a second term. The plans include rounding up undocumented immigrants already in the US and placing them in detention camps to await deportation. Such a proposal would necessitate building large camps to house migrants waiting for deportation and tapping federal and local law enforcement to assist with arrests of undocumented immigrants across the country.

“Stopping the invasion at our southern border is an urgent national security necessity and one of President Trump’s top priorities. For that reason, he has laid out – in his own speeches and Agenda 47 platform – by far the most detailed program for securing the border, stopping illegal immigration, and removing those who should never have been allowed into our country in the first place,” a spokesperson for the Trump campaign said in a statement to CNN.

Biden campaign officials slammed the policies last week, calling them “unAmerican.”

“Simply put, Donald Trump is going after immigrants, our rights, our safety and our democracy. And that is really what’s on the ballot next year,” said Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez.

The Biden campaign also blasted Trump’s visit to the US-Mexico border, casting the former president’s immigration policies as “inhumane” and “draconian.”

The former president has been pointing to the Israel-Hamas war to stoke fear and anti-immigrant sentiment within the US to advocate an immigration crackdown. He’s pushed for “ideological screenings” of immigrants, blocking immigrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries, and deporting people in the US on visas who he argues have “jihadist sympathies.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.

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