This is the tale of two cities.
Or, more accurately, it is the tale of two visits to “two” cities, both named El Paso.
One was the visit to the real border city of El Paso, where immigrant women and children were sleeping in cold and crowded dirty streets, by New York Mayor Eric Adams last weekend. He went to see firsthand what the disastrous influx of illegal immigrants is doing to El Paso — and to New York.
“New York cannot take anymore,” Adams said of immigrants being bused north. “We can’t.” He said, “No city deserves what is happening.”
The other was the earlier visit by President Biden, whose open border policy has caused the crisis. He went to a Potemkin Village-like fake version of El Paso where the streets were quiet, clean and empty, without an illegal immigrant in sight.
Biden, looking around like a tourist on his first visit to the border, which it was, seemed to say, “Problem? What problem?”
Adams went to the border to see what was really happening. Biden went to the border to see a sanitized version of what was happening.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, his stage manager who says the border is secure, made sure of that.
Mayorkas is to Joe Biden is what Grigory Potemkin, a Russian minister, was to Russian Empress Catherine II.
It was Potemkin, after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 1783, who as historical myth has it, set up a series of fake villages populated by his cheering men dressed as peasants for Catherine to review.
As she passed by in her river barge, Potemkin would have the fake village disassembled and reestablished downstream overnight.
This is like what Mayorkas did in El Paso. He set up a fake village. Only he depopulated the village. He had the Border Patrol remove the immigrants from the streets so Biden would not see them.
Hence the president, who has allowed some 2 million immigrants to cross into the country illegally, not to mention another 1 million getaways, did not meet or talk to a single one of them. Thanks to Mayorkas they were kept out of sight.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, among others, wants Mayorkas impeached. Upon Biden’s arrival, Abbot handed the president letter at the El Paso Airport demanding that Biden take immediate action to stem the flow of immigrants by enforcing border laws. “He needs to step up and take action,” Abbot said.
Biden later told reporters he had not read the letter.
Maria Rodiguez, 23, an immigrant from Venezuela, who had been living in a dumpster for five days, told the New York Post,” People are saying if you are out in the streets the Border Patrol will get you and deport you because the President is coming to El Paso, and they don’t want to show him the reality of things.”
The Border Patrol union tweeted out, “El Paso being cleaned up as if nothing unusual ever happened here. Just in time for Biden’s ‘visit to the border.’ We suggest just landing in Des Moines, Iowa and telling him it’s El Paso. He’ll never know the difference.”
In fact, from the television coverage of the sanitized event — or non-event — it could well have been Des Moines.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said “You’re never going to develop true policies and programs and operations unless you’re willing to see what exactly is going on. And he refused to do that.”
Instead of meeting with any immigrants, or with Americans whose homes and ranches along the border have been vandalized and thrashed, Biden visited the El Paso County Migrant Service Center which had been emptied of immigrants.
After Biden left, the immigrants returned to the streets.
Maria Rodiguez went back to her dumpster.
And Biden’s immigration policy remained intact. It reads: “Come to America. We have a dumpster waiting for you.”
America, under Joe Biden, is where the streets are paved with mold.
Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams went to see the mess at the border for himself. (AP file)