Illegal immigrants in El Paso, Texas, have been arrested, their camps have been taken down, and some have been sent back to Mexico in the week leading up to President Biden’s first visit to the border during his term.
El Paso, the epicenter of the border crisis, saw up to 2,500 illegal immigrants crossing the border every day in mid-December. Videos show authorities patrolling and arresting illegal immigrants sleeping on city streets outside a bus station and the Sacred Heart Church shelter, NBC reported.
“People are saying that if you are out in the streets the Border Patrol will get you and deport you because the President is coming to El Paso and they don’t want to show him the reality of things,” Maria Rodriguez, a Venezuelan who was living in a dumpster for three days, told the New York Post. “I hope we get shelter tonight because it took us a lot of courage to go out of that dumpster after three days…We just don’t want to keep running. All we are asking is for one chance.”
One Border Patrol agent told The Post that 200 illegal immigrants were sent back to Mexico on Saturday. President Biden is scheduled to visit El Paso Sunday afternoon, much to the dismay of some border patrol agents who say it is too little, too late.
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that agents are “beyond frustrated that he allowed this issue to get as bad as it is, he’s not coming to the border of his own accord. He would have done that a long, long time ago.”
Lisa Graybill, vice president of law and policy at the National Immigration Law Center, told NBC News that removing illegal immigrants in front of a church shelter violates Homeland Security policy. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas sent a memo in October 2021 stating that illegal immigrants should not be arrested at shelters like places of worship and courthouses, according to the outlet.
El Paso being cleaned up as if nothing unusual ever happened there. Just in time for Biden's "visit to the border".
We suggest just landing in Des Moines, Iowa and telling him it's El Paso. He'll never know the difference.
— Border Patrol Union – NBPC (@BPUnion) January 6, 2023
The Border Patrol Union made its stance on the President’s trip known, tweeting on Friday: “El Paso being cleaned up as if nothing unusual ever happened there. Just in time for Biden’s ‘visit to the border’. We suggest just landing in Des Moines, Iowa and telling him it’s El Paso. He’ll never know the difference.”
In April 2021, Biden said his administration had “gotten control” of the border situation. Then, in September 2021, he said he planned on visiting the southern border “at some point.” Now, some fifteen months later, the President is scheduled to make the trip.
21 months ago, Joe Biden declared victory on the southern border: "We've now gotten control."
Tomorrow, Biden will allegedly stop by the border for the first time in his life to see his disaster in person.pic.twitter.com/UkCBY26fZC
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 7, 2023
Biden announced the stop while unveiling border initiatives, saying, “I know that migration is putting a real strain on the border and on border communities.”
“The actions we’re announcing today will make things better — will make things better but will not fix the border problem completely. There’s more that has to be done,” Biden said Thursday.
In a statement to NBC, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman in El Paso said: “CBP, which is responsible for securing the U.S. border between ports of entry, uses a layered approach that includes patrolling the border itself, nearby areas and neighborhoods, and conducting checkpoints. In response to migrants evading apprehension in the El Paso area, the United States Border Patrol has increased the number of agents patrolling the area.”
Editors note: This article has been expanded to include additional information.