Potemkin Village: Officials Clear Homeless Migrants from El Paso Streets Ahead of POTUS Visit

EL PASO, TEXAS - JANUARY 06: Immigrants prepare to bed down outside a migrant shelter on January 06, 2023 in El Paso, Texas. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit El Paso Sunday, his first visit to the border since he became president two years before. U.S. Border authorities took into custody some 2.5 million migrants in 2022, the highest number on record. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Multiple media outlets report local police and Border Patrol agents began an effort during the last week to remove and arrest migrants from the streets of El Paso ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to the Texas-Mexico border. The roundup appears to be an attempt to set up a Potemkin Village that paints a much different picture of the El Paso humanitarian crisis of just two weeks ago.

El Paso Sector Border Patrol agents and local police officers began arresting migrants sleeping on city streets in the day’s leading up to President Joe Biden’s first-ever visit to the Texas-Mexico border, NBC News reported.

Photos from the Daily Mail tweeted by Mark Levin show the before and after scenes after the roundup of migrants.

Immigration advocates complain that the arrest of migrants outside churches and shelters may violate Department of Homeland Security policies, NBC reported.

Border Patrol officials confirmed the arrest of migrants in El Paso who crossed the border and did not initially surrender to agents.

“In response to migrants evading apprehension in the El Paso area, the United States Border Patrol has increased the number of agents patrolling the area,” an El Paso Sector spokesman told NBC. The spokesman said the actions are part of a “layered approach hat includes patrolling the border itself, nearby areas and neighborhoods, and conducting checkpoints.”

El Paso Matters wrote: “The sounds of crowds of people talking, crying, laughing and praying around the streets of Downtown El Paso were silenced overnight Wednesday as U.S. Border Patrol agents swept up large crowds of migrants near the Greyhound bus terminal.”

“By Thursday morning, all that remained were sidewalks lined with piles of blankets, clothes and toys – which were thrown away by city crews who quickly swept and cleaned up the area,” the report continued. One woman told the local news about the fear she saw in people’s eyes as police arrested the homeless migrants camped out on the streets.

The agency also appears to have stepped up migrant removals under Title 42 in advance of the president’s visit on Sunday.

Washington Examiner reporter tweeted a video showing the scenes on the streets of El Paso she says Biden won’t see during his visit.

Breitbart Texas reported Sunday morning, a list of other things President Biden won’t see during his visit to El Paso.

During a White House press briefing late last week, Biden spokesman John Kirby dodged a question from a reporter asking if the president will see a “sanitized version of El Paso.”

Another Twitter user blamed El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser for the clearing of migrant camps ahead of the president’s visit.

The NBC report concludes:

In October 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas sent a memo to the heads of all DHS agencies, in part reminding them that places like houses of worship and courthouses are places where undocumented immigrants should not be arrested.

He noted that areas in proximity to those safe places may also be considered protected.

“We need to consider the fact that an enforcement action taken near — and not necessarily in — the protected area can have the same restraining impact on an individual’s access to the protected area itself,” Mayorkas said in the memo. “If indeed that would be the case, then, to the fullest extent possible, we should not take the enforcement action near the protected area.”

It is not known what President Biden will see when he visits the border in El Paso on Sunday. The White House did not disclose in advance who the president will meet with and what he plans to visit during the border trip.

The New York Times stated that Biden’s visit to El Paso “is bound to be awkward. Governor Abbott, who’s actions helped slow the migrant crisis in El Paso, has not announced any plans to meet with the president.

What is clear is the El Paso President Biden Visits on January 8 is much different than the El Paso of just two weeks ago.


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