President Joe Biden made his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday since taking up office last year. Amid the immigration and security crisis along the border, Biden finally found his way to check on the border situation as Republicans continue to put the heat on him, criticizing his policies for the massive influx of migrants crossing into the country. His arrival at the border area was in preparation for a three-way summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada set for Monday.

According to the Associated Press, Biden observed border officers in El Paso as they demonstrated the procedures for detecting and preventing drugs and other contraband from entering the country. Biden was seen walking along the metal border fence, which separates the United States from Ciudad Juarez, with border officers as they traveled to a dusty street surrounded by abandoned buildings. The President’s last stop was at the El Paso County Migrant Service Center but surprisingly not one migrant was seen. Biden was given the run-down of the services offered at the center after which he asked an aid worker, “If I could wave the wand, what should I do?”

The situation at the border during Biden’s visit was seen as rather odd as no migrants were in sight. Only a dozen were seen on the Ciudad Juarez side when the President’s motorcade drove along the border fence.

The President did not visit the Border Patrol Sation where many migrants who cross the border illegally are held before being released. Some suggested that the trip may have been an act, designed to showcase that the crisis on the border was not as overwhelming as state officials claim or that it was completely nonexistent. This was also speculated as a ploy in order to create a counter to arguments and criticism by Republican politicians and by immigrant advocates who have accused him of policies that were more in line with Donald Trump's. However, it is believed that Biden’s brief visit may do very little to appease both sides.

Biden told reporters that his administration’s new policies aimed to “substantially reduce” the number of migrants seeking to cross the border. The program will supposedly allow 30,000 migrants to enter the U.S. monthly, provided they pass background checks and have acquired a sponsor. During his visit, Biden was given a letter by the Texas governor regarding the situation on the border, which Governor Gregg Abbott outlined as “chaos”. When asked about Abbott’s letter, Biden responded to reporters that he has yet to read it.

U.S. President Joe Biden visits El Paso
U.S. President Joe Biden visits El Paso. Photo by: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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