Piles of trash and miles of fencing will greet President Joe Biden when he arrives in Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday for the second border visit of his presidency.
What will be missing are illegal immigrants crossing the border.
At Camp Monument, once a bustling facility run by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to process immigrants entering the country illegally in Brownsville, there was little sign of activity Wednesday.
Rows of fences, intertwined with concertina wire, glistened in the hot Texas sun. the 12The approximately one-foot-high chain-link fence panels are tied with a 3-foot layer of concertina wire to prevent migrants from attempting to scale it. Mexico is visible on the other side of the Rio Grande.
But there were no signs that anyone was attempting to make the short crossing into the United States. Piles of trash lined the banks of the river, however, remnants of six months ago, when Brownsville was a major migration point, with up to 10,000 crossings a day.
There was a lot of trash but no sign of migrants on the Rio Grande in Brownsville, Texas.
Two members of the Texas National Guard were stationed in the area and some CBP agents were moving around, but all described the area as “quiet” when DailyMail.com toured it. The biggest action was a government patrol driving along the river bank on the American side.
Border crossings at Brownsville have dropped sharply in recent months after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott installed miles of chain-link fencing as part of Operation Lone Star, which he signed into law in December.
It is unclear why the White House chose Brownsville for Thursday’s presidential visit or whether Biden will make any announcements about executive action. Biden will meet with US border patrol agents, law enforcement and local leaders, as he has been criticized for his handling of the immigration issue.
On the same day as Biden’s trip to Texas, Donald Trump will be in Eagle Pass, an area of Texas still struggling to cope with the influx of migrants. The former president will be about 330 miles from his 2024 rival and the two leaders are not expected to interact.
Internal CBP data for all border patrol stations in February, obtained by Fox News, shows that the Brownsville area had about 462 apprehensions, which averages about 17 per day.
That makes Brownsville, Texas, the 29th busiest Border Patrol station of the month. The number one station was Three Points in the Tucson, Arizona sector, which recorded more than 13,900 arrests in February.
Brownsville could give Biden a platform to argue that illegal crossings have decreased dramatically given that it was the busiest corridor for illegal crossings for nine years.
But Republicans have called it something else: a ‘photo shoot’.
“I’m here to predict that he will do what he did in El Paso, which is hide all the illegal immigrants and do a photo op that is fundamentally misleading,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told Fox News’ Sean Hannity about the visit. of Biden.
The White House has said it is House Republicans who are turning the border into a “political stunt.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to GOP criticism of Biden’s trip, noting that it was House Republicans who refused to bring up a vote on a bipartisan travel bill. border security after Trump spoke out against it.
‘Oh, it’s very different. What the Republicans in the House of Representatives have done is nothing, absolutely nothing. If anything, they always get in the way,” he stated during his press conference.
‘They are turning this into a political stunt by listening to Donald Trump and saying they need to take him down. This is what they’ve been doing and turning it into a political thing where the president got his team to now lead his team to work with senators, both Republicans and Democrats, to get a bill passed.’
Members of the Texas National Guard patrolling the border: Crossings have decreased since Republican Governor Greg Abbott installed fences.
Last May, before the fence was installed, lines of immigrants waited at Camp Monument to be processed into the country.
President Joe Biden will make his second trip to the border of his presidency on Thursday
Local groups are also upset with the president’s quick visit, with one calling it a “press event.”
Voces Unidas RGV, part of the Southern Border Communities coalition, accused the White House of ignoring local needs “iIn exchange for a press event, ironically, to meet with law enforcement officials about border security.
“Despite these visits to the border, despite the press-friendly photos and quotes, we are not impressed with the Biden Administration’s lackluster commitment to our Texas border communities, especially our immigrant, low-income and mixed status,” the group said in a statement.
They asked Biden to sit down with the migrants.
“If President Biden seeks to be the public servant people need, he must take the time to sit down with underserved communities and listen to their position.”
Brownsville has a predominantly Hispanic population, which, at 93.9%, is the third highest proportion of Hispanic Americans of any US city.
Its proximity to the border and strong Hispanic community had made it a hot spot for illegal immigration. Furthermore, with 200,000 inhabitants, it is one of the largest cities in the country and capable of absorbing the influx of immigrants.
The city is also a Democratic stronghold. And it has a great bus station and airport for migrants to use to leave for other destinations.
The border zone near Camp Monument, the area in Brownsville to process migrants
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited Camp Monument in May
A welcome to the United States sign in Brownsville, Texas
The border wall between Brownsville, Texas and Mexico
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited Brownsville on May 5, 2023, during a large surge of crossings, when More than 10,000 asylum seekers crossed the border each day.
Mayorkas went to Camp Monument, which was a tent city established on a former golf course, just meters from the banks of the Rio Grande.
At the time, arrests for illegal crossings had surpassed 2 million over the past two years, more than double Trump’s peak year of just under 1 million in 2019. Now, however, most migrant activity Illegals occur in Arizona and California.
The tent city has mostly disappeared as silence falls over Camp Monument.
Biden and Trump’s trips come as the issue of immigration comes to the forefront of the campaign.
They also come just days before the Super Tuesday primaries on March 5, when more than a dozen states hold elections for the Republican nomination.
Both men have criticized each other on the border issue as they try to make it an election year issue.
There have been record border crossings during the Biden administration, a fact that Trump and Republicans have stressed to him.
And, according to a Gallup poll, immigration is the most common issue mentioned by adult voters who disapprove of Biden’s performance.
The White House has been trying to change the narrative on the issue, blaming Trump and House Republicans for refusing to support the bipartisan Senate bill. Conservatives argue the legislation did not go far enough.
The bill included more than $20 billion for border security that would add new Customs and Border Patrol agents, add more asylum officers to increase processing time and add more immigration judges.
The president has also been under pressure from Democrats, including governors, mayors and senators from border states, to do more about it.
His first trip to the southern border was in January 2023, when Biden spent about four hours on the ground in El Paso, Texas.