Before Joe Biden’s border visit, El Paso cleans up migrant encampment

Before President Biden’s anticipated Sunday visit to the overcrowded border town, authorities in El Paso have started dismantling migrant encampments under cover of darkness and sending hundreds of people across the border to Mexico.

As the city gets ready to host President Biden’s first visit to the southern border, encampments close to the downtown bus station and the Sacred Heart Church, which runs a shelter, have been dismantled by local authorities over the last two nights, according to a photographer for The Post who saw it.

Venezuelan Migrants

Six buses loaded with mostly Venezuelan migrants were spotted crossing a downtown bridge to Ciudad Juarez, the frontier city in Mexico, Saturday, as police escorted dozens more to a pedestrian crossing.

At least 200 individuals were deported back to Mexico on Saturday, according to a Border Patrol agent who did not want to be named.

According to Maria Rodriguez, 23, from Venezuela, who told The Post she has spent the past three days sleeping in an El Paso dumpster, “people are saying that if you are out in the streets the Border Patrol will get you and deport you because the President is coming to El Paso and they don’t want to show him the reality of things.” We took a lot of guts to emerge from that dumpster after three days, so I hope we find refuge tonight. We simply don’t want to keep running. All we need is one chance, please.

Another migrant from Venezuela told The Washington Post that he had been camped out on the porch of a nearby church and was upset with Biden for making empty promises to them prior to his inauguration in 2021.

Joan Enriquez, a 21-year-old, claimed, “I genuinely think politicians are messing with us.” Democrats and Republicans on both sides. We give them kudos because, like Biden, they initially pretended to want to assist us before closing the border and making it impossible for us to obtain legal status in this nation.

Authorities Calm Unrest

Authorities in El Paso came under fire from critics for attempting to calm the unrest in time for Biden’s arrival.

El Paso is being restored as though nothing strange had occurred there. Right on schedule for Biden’s “visit to the border,” the Border Patrol Union tweeted. “We propose having him arrive in Des Moines, Iowa, while claiming to be in El Paso. He won’t understand the distinction.

The Border Patrol Union has expressed concerns about low morale among frontline officers who have dealt with a historically high volume of migrants entering the country illegally in fiscal 2022. Tens of thousands of migrants have poured into El Paso in recent weeks, bringing the total number of migrants who have crossed the roughly 2,000-mile border with Mexico to over 2.4 million.

Increase Patrols

According to a local source, migrants camped up close to the Sacred Heart church all during the week because they were afraid of being sent back across the border. 

According to the El Paso Times, police, Texas Department of Public Safety officers, and US Border Patrol agents patrolled the downtown area where migrant encampments had been established. Tuesday night, the patrols started to rise, and they haven’t stopped since Saturday.

The number of migrants apprehended during the roundups was not disclosed by the agency.

Both the Texas Department of Public Safety and the El Paso Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.