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Biden inspects busy ports of entry along the US-Mexico border

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US President Joe Biden talks to Border Patrol agents as he walks along the border fence during his visit to the US-Mexico border to assess border control operations, in El Paso, Mexico Texas, Sunday. (Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

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EL PASO, Texas — President Joe Biden inspects a busy port of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday, his first trip to the region after two years in office as Republicans hammer him for being lenient on matters border security as the number of immigrants goes through spirals.

Biden watched as El Paso border agents demonstrate how they search vehicles for drugs, money and other contraband. In a sign of deep political tensions over immigration, the Republican Governor. Greg Abbott handed Biden a letter upon his arrival saying the “chaos” at the border was the “direct result” of the president’s failure to enforce federal laws.

Biden planned to spend a few hours in the city, currently the largest corridor of illegal crossings, largely for Nicaraguans fleeing repression, crime and poverty in their country. They are among migrants from four countries who are now subject to rapid deportation under new rules enacted by the Biden administration last week, which have drawn heavy criticism from immigration advocates.

The president met with border officials to discuss migration as well as the increased trade in fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which are driving the number of overdoses in the United States skyrocketing.

Biden was scheduled to visit the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and meet with nonprofits and religious groups that support immigrants arriving in the United States. It was unclear if Biden would talk to immigrants.

Biden’s announcement on border security and his visit to the border are intended in part to drown out political noise and lessen the impact of upcoming immigration investigations promised by House Republicans. But any lasting solution will require action from the sharply divided Congress, where multiple efforts to pass sweeping changes have failed in recent years.

From El Paso, Biden was expected to continue south to Mexico City, where he and the leaders of Mexico and Canada will meet Monday and Tuesday for a summit of North American leaders. Immigration is one of the items on the agenda. The challenge facing the United States on its southern border requires cooperation between several countries, a sign that diplomacy will matter as much as the internal policies of the United States.

I think they’re trying to send a message that they’re going to check people’s documented status more consistently, and if you haven’t been treated, they’ll come get you.

-Ruben Garcia of the Annunciation House Aid Group in El Paso

In El Paso, where migrants congregate at bus stops and parks before moving on, Border Patrol agents stepped up security ahead of Biden’s visit.

“I think they’re trying to send a message that they’re going to check people’s documented status more consistently, and if you haven’t been treated, they’ll come looking for you,” said the band’s Ruben Garcia. help Annunciation House. in El Paso.

Migrants and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution have increasingly found that protections in the United States are primarily available to those who have money or are savvy about finding someone to carry. guarantor for them financially.

Jose Natera, a Venezuelan immigrant in El Paso who hopes to seek asylum in Canada, said he has no prospect of finding an American sponsor and is now hesitant to seek asylum in the United States because he was afraid of being sent to Mexico.

Mexico “is a terrible country where there is crime, corruption, cartels and even the police persecute you,” he said. “They say people who think they’re 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 number of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border increased dramatically during Biden’s first two years in office. There were more than 2.38 million stoppages in the year ending in September. 30, the first time the number exceeded 2 million. The administration has struggled to crack down on the crossings, reluctant to take sweeping steps akin to those of the Trump administration.

President Joe Biden boards Marine One at the Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., on Sunday.
President Joe Biden boards Marine One at the Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., on Sunday. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press)

The policy changes announced last week are Biden’s biggest move yet to contain illegal border crossings and will repel tens of thousands of migrants arriving at the border. At the same time, 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela will be able to come to the United States legally as long as they travel by plane, obtain a sponsor and pass security checks. antecedents.

The United States will also refuse migrants who do not first seek asylum in a country they passed through en route to the United States. Migrants are asked to fill out a form on a phone application in order to be able to go to an entry point at the scheduled date and time.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters aboard Air Force One that the administration was trying to “encourage a safe and orderly manner and weed out contraband organizations,” saying policies n were “not a ban at all”, but an attempt to protect migrants from the trauma that smuggling can create.

The changes have been welcomed by some, especially leaders of towns where migrants have been massed. But Biden has been excoriated by immigrant advocacy groups, who have accused him of taking actions modeled on those of the former president. Administration officials disputed this characterization.

For all of his international travels in his 50 years of public service, Biden hasn’t spent much time at the US-Mexico border.

The only visit the White House could point to was Biden’s conduct at the border while campaigning for president in 2008. He sent Vice President Kamala Harris to El Paso in 2021, but she was criticized for having largely bypassed the action, because El Paso was not the center of the crossings that it is now.

President Barack Obama took a trip to El Paso in 2011, where he visited border operations and the international bridge at Paso Del Norte, but was later criticized for not returning when tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors accompanied entered the United States from Mexico.

Trump, who has made tougher immigration a signature issue, has visited the border several times. During one visit, he crowded into a small border post to inspect cash and medicine confiscated by officers. On a trip to McAllen, Texas, then at the center of a growing crisis, he made one of his most repeated claims that Mexico would pay to build a border wall.

American taxpayers ended up footing the bill after Mexican leaders flatly rejected the idea.


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