Biden defends skipping border visit while in Arizona, says there are 'more important things'

President Biden defended his decision to skip visiting the U.S.-Mexico border while in Arizona on Tuesday, saying, "there are more important things."

Biden made the defense while boarding Marine One to depart the White House on Tuesday. Biden has never visited the border throughout his presidency, despite the ongoing crisis with record numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border each month.

"Why go to a border state and not visit the border?" Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked.

"Because there are more important things going on," Biden responded. "They’re going to invest billions of dollars in a new enterprise."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed Republican border visits as "political stunts" last month.

The U.S. has seen record levels of illegal immigration throughout the Biden administration. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 230,000 border encounters in October alone, an all-time monthly record that broke the previous record set in September.

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September data revealed that fiscal year 2022 ended with 2,378,944​ migrant encounters, the highest ever recorded in a fiscal year. That figure does not include the 599,000 ​known "gotaways" that CBP sources told Fox News evaded capture over the same period.

The Biden administration has repeatedly sought to dismiss border surges as a yearly pattern. While the southern border has seen a pattern of increases in migration each spring, the surges in both 2021 and 2022 far outpaced previous years, and that pace only escalated throughout the year.

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Vice President Kamala Harris, who Biden tapped to lead the administration's effort to address the border crisis, has argued the border is "closed," telling migrants firmly, "Do not come," last year.

Nevertheless, many of the migrants Fox News spoke to in November described the border as "abierta," or "open." Some of the migrants also praised Biden personally.

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