Texas

Biden impressed El Paso leaders

Escobar and Abbott argue over migrants’ rights, immigration ‘decisions’ letter given to president during border trip

EL PASO, TX (border report). The mayor showed him an illustrated book of migrants passing through El Paso. The Bishop shared a letter written by a child from an orphanage in Juarez, Mexico, who sought to be reunited with his mother and brother in the United States.

President Joe Biden watched and read, but those who showed and told said he already knew.

“People say it’s time for the president to go, but the president knows what’s going on in El Paso, what the problems are. But it’s true; It’s never too late to see everything with your own eyes,” Lizer said. “He knew the answers before he asked the questions.”

That’s the impression Biden’s Sunday visit to the border had on El Paso leaders.

Biden spent four hours in the city interacting with those tasked with keeping international trade running smoothly, with border agents forced to do the double duty of patrolling the border and caring for migrants at processing centers, and spending time with local governments and nonprofits. organizations. leaders of organizations driving the historic surge in migration last year.

Biden made no statements during the visit, but mostly listened and asked questions. He spent nearly an hour on the Bridge of the Americas, one of the busiest entry points on the US-Mexico border and symbolizing friendship, family and business ties between the two countries.

He made an unannounced stop at the border wall on Paisano Drive in West El Paso, where he and top national security officials met with the leadership of the local border patrol.

In a briefing after Air Force One took off from El Paso International Airport on Sunday afternoon on its way to Mexico City, Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Tex., agreed that Biden wanted to participate.

“He spoke with the staff of the migrant processing center. He mentioned the Church of the Sacred Heart,” Escobar said of South El Paso Catholic Parish where hundreds of Venezuelan migrants sought refuge from deportation. “He saw the video, the photos.”

Venezuelan migrant Carla Sainz, 26, who is eight months pregnant, helps her 2-year-old son Joshua get dressed while camping near Sacred Heart Church in downtown El Paso, Texas on Sunday, January 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton) )

El Paso in early October and mid-December became the epicenter of the national migration crisis. In the late fall, city officials spent millions of dollars transporting thousands of people from the city to their chosen destination. Last month, as processing centers were four times full, thousands of foreign nationals on parole were released onto the city’s streets in the bitter cold.

But the number of migrants crossing the border has been declining since the Supreme Court delayed the end of Section 42 removal two weeks ago, possibly until June. The arrival of Texas Army National Guard troops, who installed barbed wire and temporary fencing along the Rio Grande with military vehicles in full view, has all but closed the once-popular migrant corridor in downtown El Paso.

Troops and several cargo containers stationed on the American side of the river are part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. Abbott was in El Paso on Sunday to welcome Biden with a letter demanding he enforce U.S. immigration laws, and later told the press that the president had received two years and $20 million in aid for local communities arriving late at the border.

President Joe Biden shakes hands with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott after Abbot handed him a border letter at El Paso International Airport in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, January 8, 2023. Rep. Veronica Escobar, Texas, second from left, and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, Jr., Texas, right, look. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnick)

Escobar, who flew in with Biden aboard Air Force One, said the governor politely passed the letter to Biden. But the three-term Democratic member of the House of Representatives and the Republican governor of Texas agreed to disagree on how to deal with the border crisis, now in its fourth year.

“He (Abbott) was very nice to the president. He welcomed him to the state and said he wanted to work with him and handed him a letter in which he said that the letter had solutions,” Escobar said. “I welcomed Abbott into my community, told him that I would like to work together, and asked him as a Texan to use our resources” in a wise way.

The two politicians argued over the rights of migrants: Abbott said that those who enter illegally should face consequences, and Escobar said that the asylum request is legitimate and that if people are not allowed to approach ports of entry for this purpose, they have no choice. left.

Escobar, at her press conference, accused Abbott of politicizing illegal immigration and using it as a fundraising platform, as well as anticipating a possible participation in the presidential election.

The governor said in social networks that he was simply urging Biden to “do your constitutional duty” to defend the nation.

Next for Biden: Persuading Mexico to do more on drugs and migration

Escobar said she was glad Biden spent time on the Bridge of the Americas and received a briefing on how customs officers are trying to prevent fentanyl from entering the country. “It doesn’t end up in backpacks carried by poor migrants, but in ports of entry for vehicles often driven by American citizens,” she said.

After a trip to El Paso, Biden flew to Mexico City, where he will meet with President Andres Manuel López Obrador on Monday and with López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday. Each meeting is likely to have repercussions on the US-Mexico border.

According to Mexico’s published summit schedule, Biden and López Obrador will talk Monday night. According to Mexican media reports, the meeting is likely to focus on migration and curbing the flow of fentanyl to the US. Tuesday’s meeting, which Trudeau will attend, is likely to focus on trade.

The Biden administration recently adopted a plan to include Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans in the same remote asylum application process that Venezuelans have had since October. It requires them to have American sponsors and deprives those who cross the border illegally of the right to future immigration benefits. The plan allows up to 30,000 citizens of these countries to be paroled each month, but expects Mexico to accept the same number of deportees.

López Obrador is pushing for a massive temporary visa plan for Mexican citizens who have been subject to Section 42 removal since the Trump administration introduced the rule in 2020.

Biden is also under pressure at home to stop the opioid overdose crisis that killed 107,000 Americans last year. According to US drug experts, fentanyl is mass-produced in underground factories in Jalisco and Michoacán in the west, as well as in Sinaloa and Mexico City.

US Customs and Border Protection seized 30 percent more fentanyl at the border last year than in 2021.

Security experts tell Border Report that the new-generation Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels are the top fentanyl exporters to the US. Mexico last week captured Ovidio Guzmán, the son of jailed Sinaloa cartel drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. However, Guzmán’s other son, Ivan Arcivaldo, as well as Sinaloa cartel patriarch Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Jalisco New Generation Cartel kingpin Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho”, remain at large.



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