WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is heading to the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday, his first journey there as president after two years of hounding by Republicans who’ve hammered him as delicate on border safety whereas the variety of migrants crossing spirals.
Biden is because of spend a number of hours in El Paso, Texas, at the moment the most important hall for unlawful crossings, due largely to Nicaraguans fleeing repression, crime and poverty of their nation. They are amongst migrants from 4 nations who are actually topic to fast expulsion underneath new guidelines enacted by the Biden administration up to now week that drew robust criticism from immigration advocates.
The president is predicted to fulfill with border officers to debate migration in addition to the elevated trafficking of fentanyl and different artificial opioids, that are driving skyrocketing numbers of overdoses within the U.S.
Biden will go to the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and meet with nonprofits and spiritual teams that help migrants arriving to the U.S. It will not be clear whether or not Biden will speak to any migrants.
“The president’s very much looking forward to seeing for himself firsthand what the border security situation looks like,” stated John Kirby, White House nationwide safety spokesman. “This is something that he wanted to see for himself.”
Biden’s announcement on border safety and his go to to the border are aimed partly at quelling the political noise and blunting the impression of upcoming investigations into immigration promised by House Republicans. But any enduring answer would require motion by the sharply divided Congress, the place a number of efforts to enact sweeping adjustments have failed in recent times.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas provided faint reward for Biden’s choice to go to the border, and even that was notable within the present political local weather.
“He must take the time to learn from some of the experts I rely on the most, including local officials and law enforcement, landowners, nonprofits, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s officers and agents, and folks who make their livelihoods in border communities on the front lines of his crisis,” Cornyn stated.
From El Paso, Biden will proceed south to Mexico City, the place he and the leaders of Mexico and Canada will collect on Monday and Tuesday for a North American leaders summit. Immigration is among the many gadgets on the agenda.
The problem going through the U.S. on its southern border “is something that is not unique to the United States. It’s gripping the hemisphere. And a regional challenge requires a regional solution,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas informed ABC’s “This Week” earlier than becoming a member of Biden on the journey.
In El Paso, the place migrants congregate at bus stops and in parks earlier than touring on, border patrol brokers have stepped up safety earlier than Biden’s go to.
“I think they’re trying to send a message that they’re going to more consistently check people’s documented status, and if you have not been processed they are going to pick you up,” stated Ruben Garcia of the Annunciation House help group in El Paso.
Migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing violence and persecution have more and more discovered that protections within the United States can be found primarily to these with cash or the savvy to search out somebody to vouch for them financially.
Jose Natera, a Venezuelan migrant in El Paso who hopes to hunt asylum in Canada, stated he has no prospects for locating a U.S. sponsor and that he’s now reluctant to hunt asylum within the U.S. as a result of he’s afraid of being despatched to Mexico.
Mexico “is a terrible country where there is crime, corruption, cartels and even the police persecute you,” he stated. “They say that people who think about entering illegally won’t have a chance, but at the same time I don’t have a sponsor. … I came to this country to work. I didn’t come here to play.”
The numbers of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has risen dramatically throughout Biden’s first two years in workplace. There have been greater than 2.38 million stops in the course of the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, the primary time the quantity topped 2 million. The administration has struggled to clamp down on crossings, reluctant to take hard-line measures that may resemble these of the Trump administration.
The coverage adjustments introduced this previous week are Biden’s greatest transfer but to include unlawful border crossings and can flip away tens of 1000’s of migrants arriving on the border. At the identical time, 30,000 migrants per thirty days from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela will get the possibility to return to the U.S. legally so long as they journey by airplane, get a sponsor and go background checks.
The U.S. can even flip away migrants who don’t search asylum first in a rustic they traveled via en path to the U.S.
The adjustments have been welcomed by some, notably leaders in cities the place migrants have been massing. But Biden was excoriated by immigrant advocate teams, which accused him of taking measures modeled after these of the previous president.
“I do take issue with comparing us to Donald Trump,” stated White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, pointing to a few of his most maligned insurance policies, together with the separation of migrant kids from their dad and mom.
“This is not that president,” she stated.
For all of his worldwide journey over his 50 years in public service, Biden has not spent a lot time on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The solely go to that the White House might level to was Biden’s drive by the border whereas he was campaigning for president in 2008. He despatched Vice President Kamala Harris to El Paso in 2021, however she was criticized for largely bypassing the motion, as a result of El Paso wasn’t the middle of crossings that it’s now.
President Barack Obama made a 2011 journey to El Paso, the place he toured border operations and the Paso Del Norte worldwide bridge, however he was later criticized for not going again as tens of 1000’s of unaccompanied minors crossed into the U.S. from Mexico.
Trump, who made hardening immigration a signature concern, traveled to the border a number of occasions. During one go to, he crammed right into a small border station to examine money and medicines confiscated by brokers. During a visit to McAllen, Texas, then the middle of a rising disaster, he made certainly one of his most-often repeated claims, that Mexico would pay to construct a border wall.
American taxpayers ended up footing the invoice after Mexican leaders flatly rejected the concept.
“NO,” Enrique Peña Nieto, then Mexico’s president, tweeted in May 2018. “Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever. Sincerely, Mexico (all of us).”