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President Joe Biden is coming to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday. It must be campaign season.

The White House announced Monday that the president would come to Brownsville to talk to border personnel and local officials. It’s his first visit to South Texas, and just his second to the U.S.-Mexico border.

We’ve heard enough talk; what we need is someone to listen.

Perhaps we should be more impressed; he is the president of the United States, after all. Truth be told, we’ve seen presidents before, since Bill Clinton began visiting the area. This has been a favorite spot for Donald Trump, who coincidentally also will be on the border, at Eagle Pass, on the same day.

Let’s hope Biden uses the opportunity to learn about the border from the people who actually live here. That certainly would set him apart from the dozens of other officials who have merely used such trips as taxpayer-funded publicity stunts. But we aren’t holding our breath.

Plenty of congressional leaders and other national and state politicians — including from other states, who really have little business here — have come to the border. So we know the routine. They meet with the top brass at the Border Patrol, exchange pleasantries with local elected officials and then make a public statement in front of an appropriately photogenic backdrop — the border wall for conservatives and detention or processing centers for liberals. Then they go on their merry way, content with the knowledge that the photo op will be broadcast nationwide.

Meanwhile, back on the border, we see little evidence that the semblance of attention they brought to the area will amount to anything.

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

The president’s visit isn’t likely to be any different in this age when appearances seem to matter more than accomplishments. That’s unfortunate — for Biden, the border and the nation as a whole.

He’s is in a race for his political life and his legacy after a half century in politics. He could lose his reelection bid to the most unpopular, and poorly rated, president in American history. And it’s primarily because of the complicated mix of border security and immigration that both of these men, and their predecessors, have allowed to fester for decades. Even the post-pandemic economy is drawing less attention.

We need more than a mere appearance from the president.

We need him to talk to people who actually deal with the issue. Have congressional leaders invite them to Washington to inform policy makers about what’s really going on and what’s really needed. Hear from Border Patrol personnel who deal with immigration issues directly, of course. But also hear from local officials whose budgets are shattered by the strain of mass immigration; from service workers and volunteers to deal directly with immigrants and know why they keep coming; from farmers, shrimpers and other contractors who need the labor many immigrants can provide; perhaps even from migrants themselves to know what happens if we simply shut our doors as some people want.

We’ve seen enough publicity stunts from visiting politicians. We need visible evidence that they’re serious about fixing the problems that they — yes, they — have created at the border through their inaction.