Trump wins Texas governor Abbott's endorsement at US-Mexico border

FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Trump campaigns in New Hampshire

By Jasper Ward and David Morgan

(Reuters) -Republican Donald Trump won the endorsement of Texas Governor Greg Abbott at an event near the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday, a location meant to highlight the former U.S. president's plans to crack down on immigration if he wins the 2024 election.

Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden next year, traveled to Edinburg, Texas, with Abbott to visit Texas National Guard soldiers, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and other service members stationed there.

Abbott said Biden's border policies pose a danger to communities across the United States. He credited Trump with cutting border crossings to the lowest point in decades during his presidency.

"I'm here to tell you that there is no way, no way that America can continue under the leadership of Joe Biden as our president. We need a president who's going to secure the border," Abbott said.

Trump said he was honored by Abbott's endorsement.

"This meant a lot to me," Trump said. "You're not going to have to worry about the border anymore, governor ... you're not going to have to worry about the border in Texas or Arizona or anywhere else."

Since Biden took office in 2021, U.S. border agents have made more than 5 million arrests of migrants making irregular crossings - not through a controlled border station - over the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants have arrived from around the world; large numbers have fled economic and political turmoil in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Trump has pledged to crack down on illegal immigration and restrict legal immigration if elected next year. His plan includes a promise to restore his 2019 "remain in Mexico" program, which forced non-Mexican asylum-seekers hoping to enter the United States at the Mexican border to wait in Mexico for the resolution of their cases.

The program was terminated by Biden, who defeated Trump in 2020, pledging more humane and orderly immigration policies. But he has struggled with record levels of migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

Abbott has emerged as a leading Republican figure on border issues by mounting his own Operation Lone Star border security initiative, a controversial plan to stop migration that has put his state at odds with the Biden administration.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Jasper Ward in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone, Bill Berkrot and Chris Reese)