Story update, Jan. 9, 2023: President Joe Biden visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 8, 2023. According to the Associated Press, Biden observed as border officers in El Paso, Texas, demonstrated how they search vehicles for drugs, money and other contraband. He also walked along a metal border fence that sits between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
On Dec. 6, President Joe Biden went to Arizona for the first time since taking office. During his time there, he visited a new computer chip plant near Phoenix. But he faced criticism for not making a stop along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This is not the first time that critics have accused Biden of not visiting the southern border. VERIFY viewer Randy reached out on verifythis.com to ask if these claims are true.
Is it true that President Biden has not visited the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office?
- The White House
- President Biden’s public schedule
- White House press pool
- Local and national media reports
Yes, it's true that President Biden has not visited the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office.
WHAT WE FOUND
VERIFY conducted a search of White House speeches, archives and news reports and found there is no public record of President Joe Biden visiting the U.S.-Mexico border since he took office on Jan. 20, 2021.
In October 2021, Biden answered questions during a CNN town hall in Baltimore. When asked if he had any plans to visit the southern border, the president said he had been too busy traveling to go since his term began.
"I guess I should go down, but the whole point of it is I have not had a whole lot of time to get down,” Biden said on Oct. 21, 2021.
A day after the town hall, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the last time the president had been near the border was when he was in El Paso, Texas, while on the campaign trail in 2008.
“He does not need a visit to the border to know what a mess was left by the last administration. That’s his view,” Psaki said.
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Over a year later, on Nov. 30, 2022, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden had “been to the border” during a press briefing, but didn’t specify when.
“So, look, he’s been there,” Jean-Pierre said. VERIFY could not find any record of Biden visiting since 2008.
On Dec. 6, Biden addressed the criticism at the White House before leaving for Phoenix.
“Mr. President, why go to a border state and not visit the border?” Peter Doocy, a White House correspondent for FOX News Channel, asked Biden.
“There are more important things going on,” Biden said.
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Vice President Kamala Harris, however, has made an official visit to El Paso, Texas.
In March 2021, Biden appointed Harris to oversee migration issues along the southern border. Two months later, on June 25, Harris went to El Paso, a city located on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, the international border between the U.S. and Mexico.
While there she toured the El Paso Border Patrol Station, the El Paso Processing Center and the Paso del Norte Port of Entry where her office says she met privately with young asylum seekers. The vice president’s visit was also documented by local and national media.
VERIFY reached out to the White House for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.
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