Under assault from each Republicans and Democrats, Biden excursions border

As President Biden stepped off Air Drive One in El Paso to tour the U.S. border on Sunday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was on the tarmac ready.

After greeting the president, the combative Republican governor handed Biden a sharply worded letter through which he criticized him for pushing “open-border policies” and demanded that he resume development of the border wall promised, however by no means accomplished, by former President Trump.

It was the most recent spherical of political theater for Abbott, who describes the stream of asylum seekers arriving on the southern border as an “invasion” and who in current months has spent tens of millions of taxpayer {dollars} busing not too long ago arrived migrants to Democratic-run cities on the East Coast.

It additionally underscored the basic challenges confronted by Biden, whose current efforts to handle a historic surge in migration have angered not solely Republicans but in addition some members of his personal social gathering and human rights advocates.

After Biden introduced final week that he would broaden a Trump coverage giving border brokers the facility to rapidly flip again asylum seekers, he was slammed in a joint assertion by a number of Democratic senators for “stranding migrants fleeing persecution and torture in countries unable to protect them.”

As Biden met with immigration brokers and humanitarian support staff in El Paso on Sunday, strolling alongside a piece of border fence and touring a welcome middle for newly launched migrants, one factor was clear: On a difficulty as intractable as immigration, which for many years has vexed politicians on either side of the political spectrum, there are not any straightforward options.

Tensions have flared in current months as a file numbers of border-crossers arrive from Latin America, the place political instability and the financial ravages of the COVID pandemic have resulted in tens of millions of individuals fleeing their houses.

Tens of hundreds have arrived in and round El Paso, with many crossing the border on foot illegally and requesting asylum.

Whereas migrants from Mexico, Central America and elsewhere have been swiftly deported underneath Title 42, a rule invoked by Trump that permits the federal government to maintain out foreigners throughout a public well being emergency, migrants from the troubled nations of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela had been till not too long ago allowed to enter the U.S., given short-term work permits and granted asylum hearings.

Right here in El Paso, shelters have been overwhelmed, and migrants have resorted to sleeping on the streets. Final month, as temperatures dipped under freezing, Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a state of emergency.

Days earlier than his arrival right here, Biden introduced new insurance policies that he vowed would “substantially reduce” the variety of individuals making an attempt to cross the border with a purpose to relieve strain on cities like this one.

Under new tips introduced Thursday, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians who enter the nation illegally shall be instantly deported to Mexico — with out their asylum claims being heard.

It’s an growth of a Biden coverage enacted late final 12 months geared toward Venezuelans, who at the moment made up nearly all of asylum seekers crossing the border.

The Biden administration says that coverage diminished the variety of Venezuelans who crossed the southwestern border with out authorization from 1,100 a day on common to round 100 a day.

On the similar time, Biden introduced a brand new pathway to authorized entry for individuals from the 4 international locations, saying that as many as 30,000 of them could be allowed into the U.S. every month in the event that they utilized by way of a web based utility from their house nation, discovered a U.S.-based sponsor and handed a rigorous background examine.

The administration says the two-pronged method will deter migrants from taking a harmful journey to the U.S. border.

But it surely additionally strands tens of hundreds of people that have already left their international locations and begun the damaging passage towards the U.S. Lots of them are caught in cities like Juarez, throughout the border from El Paso. Others sneaked into the USA and have prevented immigration authorities.

In downtown El Paso, a whole bunch of migrants in that second class have been camped outdoors a pink brick Catholic church referred to as Sacred Coronary heart. They’re afraid that in the event that they depart the church grounds, they are going to be arrested by immigration authorities and deported.

“If I knew they were going to close the doors, I wouldn’t have left my county,” stated Lisbeth Leon, 47, a Venezuelan who started her lengthy journey to the U.S. in September when she heard that enormous numbers of Venezuelans had been being let in.

“My kids call me a warrior,” she stated. “I’m afraid that after having crossed nine countries to get here, they will send me back.”

Leon and others have been awed by the kindness of strangers, who’ve donated meals and clothes and have even supplied free haircuts.

It was an indication, they stated, of simply how a lot the U.S. has to supply.

“I’ve never had this many clothes in my entire life,” stated Eduardo Tapia, 28, a homosexual man touring along with his boyfriend. Again in Venezuela, Tapia stated, “I was so hungry I sometimes ate banana peels.”

Jose Ibarra, who owns a cabinet-making firm in Albuquerque, 4 hours away, had come to the camp to see if he may assist.

He stated he had mates in development again in New Mexico who had been determined for staff.

“I could easily place about 20 people with a job,” Ibarra stated. “But the question is how to get them out of here.”

Biden’s tour of the border didn’t take him by way of the stretch of downtown El Paso the place a lot of the migrants have been staying. He did cease to stroll alongside an 18-foot-high part of mesh border fence, by way of which the houses of Juarez had been seen.

The one factor that everyone he encountered appeared to agree on was that extra assets had been wanted.

That’s what he discovered from assembly with border brokers, and what humanitarian support staff informed him.

“If I could wave the wand, what should I do?” Biden requested an worker on the El Paso County Migrant Providers Middle, which provides meals and clothes to migrants who’ve been launched by the Border Patrol. The reply was extra funding.

Biden left El Paso on Sunday night and headed to Mexico Metropolis for a two-day summit with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.