Numerous media outlets have reported that in the week leading up to President Biden's drive-by visit to the southern border, local police and Border Patrol agents began attempting to clean up Biden's mess prior to his arrival. Homeless migrants were removed from the streets of El Paso, with some being arrested in the process. The move has been seen by many as an effort to create a Potemkin Village that paints a much different picture of the border crisis than the harsh reality of it.
Shocking before and after photos of the mass cleanup have begun to appear on social media.
Mark Levin Tweeted photos from the Daily Mail of two sidewalks in El Paso that initially had been covered in makeshift shelters and sleeping migrants that are now virtually spotless.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott posted photos of migrants lining crowded sidewalks and called Border Patrol's migrant roundup "predictable."
In an effort to explain the cleanup of migrant camps, an El Paso Sector spokesman told NBC, "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." The spokesman added that the actions are part of a "layered approach that includes patrolling the border itself, nearby areas and neighborhoods, and conducting checkpoints."
El Paso Matters painted a grim description of the roundup and wrote, "The sounds of crowds of people talking, crying, laughing and praying around the streets of Downtown El Paso were silenced overnight Wednesday as U.S. Border Patrol agents swept up large crowds of migrants near the Greyhound bus terminal."
The report went on to add, "By Thursday morning, all that remained were sidewalks lined with piles of blankets, and clothes and toys - which were thrown away by city crews who quickly swept and cleaned up the area."
Border Patrol also appeared to have increased migrant deportations under Title 42 in preparation for Biden's Sunday visit.
Last week spokesman John Kirby avoided answering the question of whether or not Biden would see a "sanitized version of El Paso" during his visit.
Immigration advocates have complained that arresting migrants on the street in front of shelters and churches could violate Department of Homeland Security policies.
An NBC report about the migrant roundup concluded:
In October 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas sent a memor to the heads of all DHS agencies, in part reminding them that places like houses of worship and courthouses are places wehre undocumented immigrants should not be arrested.
He noted that areas in proximity to those safe places may also be considered protected.
"We need to consider the fact that an enforcement action taken near - and not necessarily in - the protected area itself," Mayorkas said in the memo. "If indeed that would be teh case, then, to the fullest extent possible, we shoul dnot take the enforcement action near the protected area."
While it is unclear if DHS policies were violated during the cleanup, one thing is certain, the El Paso that Biden visited Sunday is far removed from the migrant wasteland it was two weeks ago.
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