(Central Plaza) — On his first trip to the southern border since he has been in office, President Joe Biden met with Democratic Party officials in El Paso, but did not actually visit the border, where record detentions are taking place. He also did not visit the city center, which was flooded with homeless migrants, did not meet with local residents, did not make official remarks, and did not communicate with journalists.
After the president arrived at the airport, reporters waited to speak to him and expressed hope to hear him speak, The Center Square notes. Several reporters kept asking when the president might speak, expressing concern that they weren’t sure how much of his planned three-hour visit they would be able to ask questions.
The only official who spoke to reporters and answered their questions was Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Abbott, who did not attend Biden’s visit to Texas, arrived at the airport and waited to speak to the president. Sitting under flight number one, he waited for the president to land the plane. Descending the stairs, Biden shook Abbott’s hand and accepted the letter the governor gave him. In it, Abbott later said he listed five actions the president could take to immediately secure the border.
They had a short talk, after which the president left with representatives of the Democratic Party. Abbott then spoke to reporters and answered their questions.
First, the President visited the customs and border control point on the Bridge of the Americas. The reporters waited outside and again asked when they could ask the president questions. Biden again made no public remarks and did not answer questions.
On this part of the president’s visit, KVIA News 7 reported: “While on the Bridge of the Americas, President Biden watched a dog handler demonstrate how he could find a suitcase in the trunk. The dog walked around the car once and stopped at the trunk.
“The officers pulled out a suitcase and then pulled out what looked like fruit and a piece of meat for lunch.
“President Biden also saw another demonstration showing how a chocolate lab can find a bag of what looks like drugs or money from the back seat of a Chevy pickup truck.”
The president was joined by US Democratic Party representatives Veronica Escobar, Henry Cuellar and Vincente Gonzalez, the mayor of El Paso and other local officials, and several CBP agents.
No one spoke to the media, but Cuellar tweeted that he was meeting with the president “to discuss how to clean up the border and treat migrants with respect while we implement the legal path to help.”
Biden last visited the El Paso Migrant Processing Center and again made no public remarks or answered questions from the media.
The president has never visited the actual border, where illegal crossings have increased over the past few months, prompting the mayor of El Paso to declare a state of emergency, and Abbott dispatched the Texas National Guard to El Paso last month.
The El Paso sector, which includes two of the western counties of Texas and the entire state of New Mexico, has experienced a surge in illegal activity, with fears breaking all-time records.
Agents detained more than 55,700 people in December and reported nearly 33,000 escapes, according to preliminary CBP figures obtained by The Center Square.
In November, they detained more than 53,000 illegal foreigners in the sector and reported more than 24,000 escapes.
The number of people crossing the border each month exceeds the population of all but four cities and all but five New Mexico counties, according to 2022 Census data analyzed by The Center Square.
Prior to the President’s arrival, Abbott tweeted Sunday morning: “President Biden’s border visit today is a sanitized version of El Paso. He has no plans to enforce federal immigration laws. The Biden plan will only attract more illegal crossings. Texas will continue our historic frontier mission to protect our state.”
The National Border Patrol Council, an alliance representing border agents, has criticized Democratic leaders in El Paso and other cities, calling them “open border politicians.” [who say] ‘We need help. We need money. We will go bankrupt. We must not absorb this problem. The hotel is full.”
But at the same time, these officials say: “Our undocumented citizens pay far more in taxes than they receive benefits,” the NBPC said.
El Paso native and President of the Border Security Coalition, Irene Armendariz-Jackson, said the President’s trip and “The El Paso that will be shown to the media is not the real El Paso that we live in every day.” They’ve spent days clearing illegals, clearing out trash, and pretending we don’t have a crisis. WE ARE IN CRISIS.
Armendaris-Jackson posted videos of downtown El Paso before and after preparing for Biden’s visit.
Former El Paso City Council member Claudia Rodriguez told The Daily Caller that non-governmental organizations are giving money to local churches to help homeless migrants in El Paso.
“This has never happened before,” she said. “We’ve never had people…sleeping on the streets” like we do now, she said. “This is completely unprecedented. It’s not sustainable.”
People from all over the world are coming, she said, “because they were invited” by the Biden administration, “they feel the courage to come, and they come.”
Biden needed to see the El Paso crisis he was chosen to represent, she said, because it is “very disruptive to our community … this is something we don’t want, this is something we didn’t ask for.”