Biden Visits U.S.-Mexico Border in El Paso

January 9, 2023

President Biden on Sunday inspected a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border as well as a busy port of entry during a visit to El Paso, TX.

At his first stop, Biden observed while border officers in El Paso demonstrated how they search vehicles for drugs, money and other contraband. Next, he walked along a metal border fence that separated the U.S. city from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Critics of the President believed the visit to be overdue, saying the fact that he hadn’t witnessed the crisis on the border first-hand before his Administration heads into its third year shows the Administration hasn’t been focused enough on the issue.

The Mayor of El Paso, in fact, had declared a state of emergency last month when it appeared a federal judge’s ruling would end the Title 42 health care policy that has allowed for expulsions at the border during the Covid pandemic. The Supreme Court has taken up the issue, however, meaning Title 42 will stay in place at least until the Justices rule, likely in June.

The President’s last stop on Sunday was at the El Paso County Migrant Services Center. There were no migrants there, however. As he learned about the services offered there, Biden asked an aid worker, “If I could wave the wand, what should I do?” The worker’s answer was not audible to reporters.

Biden is holing his new immigration policies will discourage more migrants from traveling the dangerous route to the border and ease the humanitarian crisis in U.S. border cities. On Thursday, the White House said it would dramatically increase expulsions at the border after Mexico agreed to accept the return of up to 30,000 migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba who enter the U.S. illegally.

“My message is this. If you’re trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua or Haiti, or have agreed to begin a journey to America, do not just show up at the border,” Biden said Thursday in a speech from the White House. “Stay where you are and apply legally from there.”

The visit to the border came ahead of Biden’s embarking on his first visit to Mexico where he was set to meet Monday with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The pair were to then be joined in Mexico City Tuesday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a Summit of the Americas.

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