MEHLMAN: He Came, He Saw (A Potemkin Village), He Got His Photo-Op

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Ira Mehlman Ira Mehlman is the media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
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President Joe Biden checked a box on Sunday. In a transparent attempt to silence a growing chorus of criticism about his failure to get a firsthand look at the state of the border – where over 5 million have illegally entered under his watch – the president finally deigned to take three hours out of his weekend getaway in Delaware to visit El Paso.

Accentuating the farcical nature of the president’s trip, his motorcade from the airport to the border passed through El Paso streets scrubbed of homeless migrants for the occasion, and a visit to migrant reception center that, miraculously, was free of migrants despite the city operating under a state of emergency because of the overwhelming number of migrants crossing the border in recent months. Even Biden-friendly news outlets like CNN were incredulous. Asked how the president managed to show up at a migrant-receiving facility without encountering any migrants, a senior White House official, presumably with a straight face, responded, “There just weren’t any at the center when he arrived. Completely coincidental. They haven’t had any today.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who was on hand to greet Mr. Biden when Air Force One touched down in El Paso, summed up the disingenuousness of the president’s photo-op. Dispensing with the customary political niceties, Gov. Abbott handed the president a letter charging, “Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late.” The governor squarely blamed the president for “the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis,” adding that “[t]his chaos is the direct result of your failure to enforce the immigration laws that Congress enacted.”

At the midpoint of President Biden’s term, the record clearly bears out Gov. Abbott’s contentions. The crisis that the president’s carefully choreographed photo-op was designed to avoid is not a design flaw, but rather a design feature of his administration’s policies. During a 2019 primary debate, then-presidential candidate Biden explicitly urged migrants around the world to surge the border, with the intent of rubber-stamping their asylum claims: “I would, in fact, make sure that there is — we immediately surge to the border. All those people seeking asylum, they deserve to be heard.” And, boy, have they ever.

In its first 100 days, the Biden administration took more than 90 executive actions on immigration, many of which dismantled an effective system, making it easier for migrants to illegally enter and stay for good. Nearly every follow-up executive action or policy decision, including the unlawful parole program unveiled late last week, has been used to launder and perpetuate the crisis – not end it.

The administration also immediately sent a 353-page mass amnesty bill to Congress, the proposal consistently referenced as “a comprehensive immigration reform plan” that would solve the crisis they intentionally started and continue to perpetuate. In reality, it is a reward to lawbreakers and an invitation to the entire world, and we are still seeing the effects of making it public.

Adding to the irony of the president’s sojourn to El Paso was the image of Mr. Biden meeting with uniformed Border Patrol agents in front of a section of secure border wall – further construction of which he terminated on his very first day in office, even though hundreds of additional miles of fencing had already been paid for.

But nothing quite summed up the White House’s dog and pony show – well at least the dog part of it – than President Biden’s stop at the Bridge of the Americas where thousands of fraudulent asylum seekers cross each day. According to the El Paso Times, “During the stop, the president received a demonstration of a [Customs and Border Protection] K-9 sniffing and searching a car for contraband Mexican bologna and fruit. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas watched.”

To be sure, that was not the only baloney the dogs and the American public got a whiff of on Sunday.


Ira Mehlman is media director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).      

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.