Biden Makes First Visit to Southern Border

For the first time since taking office, US Pres. Biden on Sunday visited the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. The US has seen 2.2M arrests for illegal border crossings in the last fiscal year.

Biden Makes First Visit to Southern Border
Image credit: AFP [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • For the first time since taking office, US Pres. Biden on Sunday visited the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. The US has seen 2.2M arrests for illegal border crossings in the last fiscal year.
  • Ahead of his trip, border agents removed hundreds of migrants, predominantly Venezuelan, who had been camping outside a Greyhound Bus station in downtown El Paso. This comes as the city saw 2.5K daily arrivals in the last week of December, though there's typically a decline in January.
  • Biden spent a few hours at the border, mainly focusing on enforcement issues. He reportedly did not meet with any migrants at the processing center, although Biden officials suggested that this may have just been coincidental.
  • Upon his arrival in El Paso, the president also met with Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who handed him a letter with five requested actions related to border security — reportedly including continued enforcement of the pandemic-era Title 42 policy and resumed construction of the border wall.
  • Amid criticism from Republicans accusing him of being soft on border security, Biden last week unveiled new immigration rules — essentially expanding Title 42 while allowing 30K migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Mexico has also agreed to accept 30K deportees per month.
  • After El Paso, Biden headed to Mexico for the North American Leaders' Summit with Mexican Pres. Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to discuss supply chain issues, drugs, and so-called "irregular migration."

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Daily Mail, CNN, Axios, Al Jazeera, and Upi.

Narratives

  • Democratic narrative, as provided by The New York Times. Biden arrived at the border with a plan that should satisfy criticism from his left and right. By enhancing the Title 42 process and requiring striking a deportation deal with Mexico, Republicans should be happy that migrants must wait in Mexico until their asylum hearings. Likewise, progressives should be excited about the program to allow 30K new migrants per month to obtain visas.
  • Republican narrative, as provided by Daily Caller. Those who are hopeful that this visit is the start of Biden doing something to tackle the border crisis should not be fooled. If history is our guide, these 30K "temporary" visas per month are only temporary if Biden enforces them, which is unlikely given that his progressive base wants unlimited amnesty for all so-called "asylum-seekers". This was undoubtedly a calculated political stunt that does nothing but provide good headlines for the president as he enters his third year in office.