The Border Patrol union is slamming President Biden’s trip to El Paso, Texas, on Sunday amid reports that state and local authorities have ramped up detentions and cleaned up much of the migrant encampments in the area ahead of the visit.
“El Paso being cleaned up as if nothing unusual ever happened there,” the National Border Patrol Council tweeted Friday. “Just in time for Biden’s ‘visit to the border.’”
“We suggest just landing in Des Moines, Iowa and telling him it’s El Paso. He’ll never know the difference,” the union wrote.
The union’s tweet followed a report Thursday by El Paso Matters that said “large crowds” of migrants had been detained by Border Patrol agents overnight Wednesday in downtown El Paso. Subsequent reports by El Paso Matters and the New York Post said Border Patrol and local police had ramped up patrols and detentions in El Paso ahead of Biden’s visit Sunday.
Venezuelan and Nicaraguan migrants are transferred by agents of the Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande to El Paso, Texas, Dec. 27, 2022.
(Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images)
BIDEN ANNOUNCES BORDER VISIT, NEW MEASURES AS PRESSURE GROWS OVER OVERWHELMING MIGRANT SURGE
A video posted by NBC News showed Border Patrol agents patrolling outside the migrant shelter at Sacred Heart Church, where hundreds of migrants had been sleeping outside.
The Post reported that six buses loaded with mostly Venezuelan migrants left El Paso en route to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Saturday. A Border Patrol agent told the outlet that 200 migrants were sent back to Mexico on Saturday alone.
“El Paso clears downtown of expansive migrant camps ahead of Biden visit,” tweeted Mayra Flores, R-Texas. “Why not show him what our border community and law enforcement officials are dealing with on a daily basis.”
Migrants wait to get into a U.S. government bus after crossing the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas on Monday.
(AP Photo/Christian Chavez, File)
Biden, who is visiting the border for the first time in his two years in office Sunday afternoon, is expected to meet with elected local officials and community leaders, while assessing operations at the border, according to the White House.
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Fox News Digital last week that agents are “beyond frustrated” that the president has allowed the border crisis to deteriorate as it has.
“He’s not coming to the border of his own accord,” Judd said. “He would have done that a long, long time ago.”
“Because you now have Democrats, his constituency, his base, now that they’re upset, now you’ve got Eric Adams, you’ve got the governor of Colorado,” he continued. “That’s the only reason that he’s coming to the border. And it’s two years too late.”
President Joe Biden walks to speak to reporters as he and first lady Jill Biden leave the White House on Dec. 27, 2022.
The White House directed Fox News Digital’s inquiry on Sunday to the Department of Homeland Security, which said CBP uses a “layered approach that included patrolling the border itself, nearby areas, and neighborhoods, and conducting checkpoints – both stationary and temporary.”
“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,” a DHS spokesperson said. “The number of migrants encountered in El Paso is down 70 percent since mid-December, which might be a factor.”
A CBP spokesperson told Fox News Digital that reports tying the detentions in El Paso to the president’s visit are false, and that Border Patrol “was conducting increased patrols before the President announced his visit to El Paso.”
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Prior to Sunday’s visit, Biden announced an expansion of a humanitarian parole program for Venezuelan nationals to include Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans. That program will allow 30,000 individuals a month from all four countries to be paroled into the U.S. for a two-year period as long as they have a financial sponsor and pass other conditions. Those who attempt to enter illegally are made ineligible for the program.
That expanded program will be combined with an expansion of Title 42 expulsions to include those nationalities, allowing up to 30,000 of those who enter the U.S. illegally each month to be quickly returned to Mexico. Additionally, the administration announced an increased use of an alternative removal authority – expedited removal – to remove those who do not claim asylum and who cannot be expelled under Title 42.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Peter Hasson contributed to this report.