Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, traveled to the Texas-Mexico border to distribute Christmas presents and food to the Matamoros refugee camp across the border from Brownsville. It was her first trip to the camp, the largest on the southern border. U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela served as her host. They were joined by Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and Mike Benavides of the volunteer group Team Brownsville.
You know where this is going. The camp was muddy after a rainstorm and described as “squalid” in reports. American volunteers regularly cross Brownsville’s Gateway International Bridge to bring food to the camp. Sunday, Dr. Jill and the others in her entourage delivered Christmas gifts and served a Christmas dinner of tamales, beans, and rice from Taco Palenque. The trip was meant to spotlight the plight of the refugees coming mostly from Central American countries. They are living in the camp as they await entry into the United States to apply for refugee status. Jill Biden is suddenly showing interest in the Trump administration’s agreement with Mexico and the policy known as Remain in Mexico.
The group served 1,500 meals which, it was noted, was enough for only half of the migrants living in the camp. Jill Biden spoke a little Spanish to them – “Buen provecho,” Biden said to a young boy as she handed him a plate.” And she repeatedly said the situation is “heartbreaking”. This is part of the playbook for Democrats to criticize the Trump administration’s enforcement of immigration laws. Candidates and Democrat leadership travel to the border and tour a facility meant to house illegal immigrants as they are processed. The open-borders crowd wants everyone to believe that the migrants are being treated badly when the reality is that they have shelter and are provided food and other necessities. The accommodations are not luxurious but it is better than many of them left behind in their home countries.
Jill Biden was there to tug at heartstrings, just as another Democrat candidate did in October, Julian Castro.
“It’s not who we are as Americans,” Biden said after spending more than two hours at the camp. “We are a welcoming nation, but that’s not the message that we’re sending at the border. We’re saying, ‘Stop. Don’t come in.’”
This marks the second presidential campaign to visit this city of more than half a million people this year. Former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro visited the camp in October. The city is considered so dangerous that the U.S. State Department last week issued a Christmas travel warning advising Americans to stay away from Matamoros and the entire state of Tamaulipas, where the city is located, because of crime, especially kidnappings. “There’s so much danger here for the families, for the young women, for the girls, from kidnapping to sex trafficking to disease to violence,” Biden said. “There’s so much here that needs to be addressed.”
There are two points I would make about Biden’s remarks. First, I would point out that this is exactly “who we are as Americans”. America is a nation of laws. Some laws, in particular, immigration laws, have been grossly ignored by politicians in both parties for years. Instead of reforming the laws already on the books, the open borders crowd want to toss them out along with the border wall and ICE. President Trump campaigned on enforcing immigration laws and he has been delivering on his promises. He has successfully worked with leaders in Mexico and other Central American countries to put policies in place to stop the caravans of thousands of migrants illegally overrunning the southern border.
Jill Biden is right on one point – there is much to be addressed. Human trafficking and child abuse is rampant among illegal immigrants. The children are brought over the border by adults who are paid to bring them. They are not family members but human traffickers. Women and children are vulnerable to abuse. And the drug cartels use women as drug mules, bringing drugs over the border. Rep. Vela said “Our Constitution is being ripped apart” and Benavides, a school teacher, said migrants should not be characterized as “bad hombres” as Trump has in the past.
Vela said the “Remain in Mexico” policy that led to the camp in Matamoros is worse than when the Trump administration initiated a policy to separate families at the border in 2018.
“Our Constitution is being ripped apart,” Vela said. “Because these people are entitled to an adjudication process. They may win it or they may lose it. But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself, what harm is it to have people who have a right (to a) constitutional process of asylum claims to have them go stay with their families in the United States while they adjudicate their claims? It makes no sense.”
Benavides, a school teacher who has been crossing the border and helping migrants since he helped start the volunteer organization Team Brownsville, said migrants at the southern border should not be characterized as “bad hombres,” a reference to what President Trump has called migrants.
The Trump administration is expanding the Remain in Mexico policy, which is showing good results – border apprehensions have noticeably dropped. Democrats, including Jill Biden, apparently, would like for the old ways of turning a blind eye to illegal immigration and its problems to return. Why is she just now making the trip to the border? She did it because it is Christmas time and she was allowed to make a feel-good gesture to those in need. It’s all about feelings, not reality, for Democrats.
Rep. Vela doesn’t want any border wall at all. Like the rest of the Democrats in Congress, he opposes border wall funding and says walls don’t work. The Biden campaign hopes to spark more interest in the refugee camps on the border. Biden served as vice-president for eight years, though. Maybe he should have been concentrating on immigration reform instead of paving the way for his son to secure a sweet deal with Ukraine and China. Just a thought.