What Biden missed during his visit to El Paso


Annabella Mireles

Migrants step off a Sun Metro bus on the corner of Oregon Street and E Father Rahm Avenue.

Itzel Giron, Editor-in-Chief

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  • Two people sleep under a makeshift hut made from donated blankets from the American Red Cross Association.

  • Clothes hang on a tree outside of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

  • People on the side of the Sacred Heart Church.

  • Migrants sit on the side of Sacred Heart Church’s gate as President Joe Biden visits El Paso Jan. 8.

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President Joe Biden toured the city of El Paso, Jan 8. ahead of his visit with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The visit comes after much criticism from many republicans on the handling of the ongoing migrant crisis happening in the borderland, according to AP News. With hundreds of migrants coming from Latin America, many hoped this visit would mean a change in the immigration system whether it was stricter protocol or more open borders.  

During his time here in El Paso, President Biden visited the Bridge of Americas; which is one of the busiest ports of entry, according to officials the President went to view how Border Patrol agents search cars for drugs, money and other contraband. The President also made his way to a federally funded migrant center where he saw some of the issues Border Patrol Agents and the city face such as, lack of space in these migrant centers.  

However, it was upon his arrival, that Governor Greg Abbott awaited with a letter criticizing the President’s “late” visit.  

Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late,” read the letter written by Governor Abbott. “Moreover, your visit avoids the sites where mass illegal immigration occurs and sidesteps the thousands of angry Texas property owners whose lives have been destroyed by your border policies.” 

A site affected by the migrant surge is Sacred Heart Catholic Church, at 602 S Oregon St, where tens to hundreds of migrants are sleeping outside and surviving on the help of El Pasoans. With a plethora of children, women and men, the scene has been a focal point for many city leaders and faith leaders such as El Paso Bishop Mark Sietz. 

There are the people that are on the journey to the United States and were on the journey already based on the opportunity that they have to find a safe haven in the United States,” said Sietz ahead of the President’s visit. “Now they are in a terrible situation, they find themselves without a country, they have had to leave, very often with threats against their lives. They have sold everything they own just to be able to make the trip and made this perilous 3,000-mile journey.”  

It was also at the Sacred Heart Church where pro-migrant protestors arrived to hopefully send a message of change to President Biden. One of those protestors, Yvonne Diaz, a resident of El Paso, believes the President must abandon Trump based policies like Title 42; which grants federal authorities the power to deny entry of people and products into the country to limit the spread of a communicable disease. 

“We’re here to show support to the people that are coming and to send a message to (President) Biden that the real crisis is not here at the border,” Diaz said. “The real crisis is the immigration system here in the United States.” 

President Biden did not make a visit to the Sacred Heart Church as many hoped he would see first-hand the issues these migrants and the city is facing.  

Many residents said they had hoped President Biden would make a visit to the Sacred Heart Church so he could see the actual issues migrants and the city are facing. Many say President Biden got a “cleaned up” version of the borderland.  

After spending four hours in the borderland, the President departed to Mexico City but said during a press conference. 

“They need a lot of resources,” said President Biden. “We’re going to get it for them.”  

This is a developing story and The Prospector will continue to provide updates. 

Itzel Giron is the Editor-in-Chief and can be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.