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2024 hopeful Nikki Haley says Biden doesn't 'deserve to be president' after visiting border: 'Shame on you'

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley became the first 2024 White House hopeful to visit southern border, Monday, highlighting President Biden’s security failures and touting her own plan to address the ongoing migrant crisis. 

Haley joined “The Faulkner Focus” from Del Rio, Texas, ahead of her planned press conference with Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, on her visit.

“What I’d say to President Biden is, shame on you. Shame on you because you are putting every single American at risk. This is a national security threat… this is your job, your job is to protect the American people. You’re not doing it, you don’t deserve to be president,” Haley said, adding that what she’s witnessed has been a “dereliction of duty.”

NIKKI HALEY UNLOADS ON BIDEN PROJECTING ‘AMERICAN WEAKNESS’ ON WORLD STAGE: ‘WE HAVE TO WAKE UP’

Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a town hall campaign event in Salem, New Hampshire, US, on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. The only declared Republican challengers to former US President Donald Trump so far in the 2024 Presidential elections are Haley, Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson. 

Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a town hall campaign event in Salem, New Hampshire, US, on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. The only declared Republican challengers to former US President Donald Trump so far in the 2024 Presidential elections are Haley, Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson.  (Photographer: M. Scott Brauer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I don’t know why the Democrats are allowing him to run,” she continued. “We can’t allow this to continue to happen. Biden thinks if he doesn’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist. But for the people now in Hondo, Texas, for the people here now in Del Rio, it does exist every day. And now it is in every state in the country.” 

Haley, who is a daughter of legal immigrants, has been rolling out her plan to secure the border and tackle illegal immigration. That plan would see the recent funding for up to 87,000 IRS staff scrapped in favor of 25,000 new Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

The plan would also mandate that businesses use E-Verify — which verifies a worker’s citizenship and immigration status — in their hiring processes. As governor of South Carolina, Haley had signed a bill requiring all businesses in the state to use the tool.

“We are a country of laws. The second you stop being a country of laws, you give up everything this country was founded on,” she told host Harris Faulkner.

Nikki Haley on how to fix the border crisis: Implement 'mandatory E-Verify' program Video

Additionally, a Haley administration would cut funding to states that have been used to give money to illegal immigrants — such as the billions used by New York to cut checks to illegal immigrant workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Her plan would also restore the Trump-era “Remain-in-Mexico” policy — which kept migrants in Mexico while their immigration hearings proceeded, instead of releasing them into the U.S. Republicans have credited that policy with reducing the pull factors which drew migrants north. Haley is also promising to end the “catch-and-release” practices of the Biden administration.

“This is not a campaign issue,” she said. “This is a national security issue. And the people of Texas and every state in the country don’t deserve what’s happening right now.” 

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley talks heading to the southern border and the immigration crisis Video

Haley’s remarks came as former President Donald Trump departed Florida for New York City ahead of his Tuesday arraignment on criminal charges related to business fraud. Haley condemned Democrats for drumming up “political drama” and taking attention away from the border.

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“We should be talking about the fact that every state is now a border state. We had 70,000 people die of fentanyl and synthetic opioid deaths in 2021. You’ve got the number one cause of death for 18 to 49-year-olds is now synthetic opioids. Yet we’re talking about political revenge of a former president. It doesn’t make sense. And it’s why the New York prosecutors are trying to waste our time. But the American people need to remember this is what counts. This is what we need to be talking about. And this is where the focus needs to be, because this is a national security threat to every American family.”

There were over 1.7 million encounters at the southern border in FY 2021, and more than 2.3 million in FY 2022. FY 2023 has been on pace to eclipse those numbers, although numbers have dipped in January and February.

“This should be a top priority for anybody running for president. If it’s not a top priority for our current president, it will be a top priority when I’m president,” she concluded.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report

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