Elon Musk has decided to wade into the US immigration debate.
He met with local politicians and police with the aim of obtaining what he called an “unfiltered” view of the situation.
Musk’s visit came as thousands of people have ventured to northern Mexico in recent days on freight trains and buses, then crossed the border into Texas, Arizona and California in an upswing in arrivals of people seeking asylum in the US.
The sharp increase, notably around San Diego, California, and the Texas border towns of El Paso and Eagle Pass, follows an earlier lull in unauthorised border crossings following a new asylum policy imposed by President Biden‘s administration to discourage such activity.
Dressed in a black T-shirt, black cowboy hat and aviator-style sunglasses, Musk urged a two-pronged approach to overhauling US immigration laws in a video-selfie posted on X.
He called for an “expedited legal approval” as part of a “greatly expanded legal immigration system” that welcomes “hard-working and honest” migrants, while also barring entry for those who are “breaking the law”.
“We want to do both things – smooth out legal immigration and stop a flow of people that is of such magnitude that we’re leading to a collapse of social services,” he said.
Musk, a native of South Africa, noted his own status as an “immigrant to the United States” and called himself “extremely pro-immigrant”.
In the four-minute video clip, he introduced US Representative Tony Gonzales, a Republican from Texas whose district spans more than 800 miles of the border, who welcomed Musk and said people along the Texas border “really feel abandoned”.
Musk has more than a small interest in the Texas economy. Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas plant is located in Austin and SpaceX operates a major testing and launch facility on Texas Gulf Coast in Boca Chica near Brownsville.