President Biden got the full version of the border crisis in El Paso, Texas on Sunday, as the number of illegal immigrants crossing the US-Mexico line appeared to have dropped since December.
Not only that, but the overcrowded Central Processing Center could no longer accommodate nearly 1,000 immigrants, and the migrant camps suddenly disappeared, at least according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection sources.
Ahead of Biden’s visit, the Border Patrol union criticized the president as state and local authorities ramped up detention centers and cleared migrant camps ahead of the commander-in-chief’s arrival.
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“El Paso is being cleaned up as if nothing out of the ordinary ever happened there,” the National Border Patrol tweeted Friday. “During Biden’s ‘Border Visit’.”
The tweet was posted by El Paso Matters after reports of a “large crowd” of immigrants being detained by Border Patrol agents in El Paso on Wednesday night.
Later, the Border Patrol and local police reportedly stepped up patrols and detention centers in El Paso ahead of the president’s visit on Sunday.
“El Paso cleared downtown of massive migrant camps ahead of Biden’s visit,” wrote Mayra Flores, R-Texas. Why not show him what our border team and law enforcement officers do every day.
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CBP sources confirmed that the immigration camps in El Paso began last week in response to public complaints, including complaints from the El Paso Police Department.
The purge was primarily aimed at large groups of Venezuelan immigrants who crossed into the U.S. without turning themselves in to the Border Patrol, fearing that Title 42 rules would deport them.
But because they were never processed by the Border Patrol, they had no paperwork from the Department of Homeland Security and were actually in the US illegally.
Because they were in the U.S. illegally, the local shelter could not accept them, and if they did, the shelter would be in violation of federal laws on housing illegal aliens.
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As migrants were unable to enter shelters, they set up camps and crime soared, with many Venezuelans arrested for breaking into cars. According to CBP sources, community members filed a complaint and Border Patrol agents began making arrests.
Most of the remaining camps are now located in the downtown El Paso area.
CBP sources also said the number of illegal crossings in El Paso has dropped dramatically since the height of last month’s unrest.
The El Paso sector averaged 2,150 daily arrivals in mid-December, down from less than 1,000 per day since early January.
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For those reasons, CBP sources told Fox that Biden will conduct a “sanitized and orderly” review of the immigration situation in El Paso.
Biden visited the border Sunday afternoon for the first time in his two years in office, where he met with local elected officials and community leaders as he assessed border operations.
Last week, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said agents were “not disappointed” that the president allowed the border to deteriorate.
Ahead of Sunday’s visit, Biden announced the expansion of the humanitarian parole program for Venezuelan nationals to include Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans. The program allows 30,000 people from the four countries to be paroled into the United States for two years if they have a financial sponsor and meet other conditions. Those who try to log in illegally will not join the program.
This expanded program will be combined with the expansion of Title 42 removals to include these nationalities, which would allow for the rapid return to Mexico of approximately 30,000 of those who enter the United States illegally each month. In addition, the administration has announced that it will use an alternative removal power – expedited removal – to remove those who are not seeking asylum and cannot be removed under Section 42.
Biden visited the border in El Paso for three to four hours, his first visit as president and the first confirmed border visit in his long career in politics.