Rep. Escobar: El Paso is the new Ellis Island, you know

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Kamala Harris traveled to El Paso on Friday with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, and Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who represents parts of El Paso. She spent about four hours on the ground. During a press conference, Rep. Escobar described the El Paso port of entry as “the new Ellis Island.’

Rep. Escobar was happy to credit herself for extending the invitation for Harris to come to El Paso. DHS Secretary Mayorkas says he recommended Harris go to El Paso “because it is one of the busiest sectors” across the border “and it provides the vice president with an opportunity to see the full array” of challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security. Unfortunately, Harris chose to go to the wrong part of the Texas border to get a true “opportunity to see the full array” of those challenges. She should have taken up Rep. Henry Cuellar on his invitation to visit the Rio Grande Valley where his district is located. He is one of the few Democrats openly speaking out about the Biden border crisis and offering advice to the Biden administration. According to Cuellar, he’s being ignored and wasn’t even given the courtesy of a heads-up that Harris was going to El Paso. He found out about her trip like the rest of us did – from a news report. The RGV is the epicenter of the Biden border crisis.

Why was Senator Durbin a member of Kamala’s entourage? His presence is being justified because of his alleged role in helping with negotiations on immigration reform legislation on Capitol Hill.

There have been lots of articles written about Kamala’s visit. Folks like Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said during an interview on FNC that “You don’t go to El Paso to see what is actually going on at the border.”

Judd said the El Paso sector is relatively well-secured and that Harris should have visited McAllen, Texas, to see where the most migrant apprehensions are happening, or Tucson, Ariz., to see where the most migrants are successfully evading authorities.

The vice president of the Border Patrol’s union, Art Del Cueto, called Harris’ choice of El Paso a “slap in the face.”

“If she really wanted to see what was going on, she would go to the hot zones,” Del Cueto told Fox.

The idea promoted by Rep. Escobar that El Paso is the new Ellis Island is her attempt to soften the crisis. She wants Americans to think of the flood of migrants at the southern border as a normal part of the immigration process. This is nothing like the days of migrants seeking a new life in America arriving at Ellis Island. Those entering Ellis Island did so within the framework of legal immigration, not rushing a land border hoping to be allowed to stay in America. As Senator Hagerty, a Republican from Tennessee said, those immigrants arriving at Ellis Island weren’t trying to turn America’s borders into “turnstiles.” We are a compassionate and generous country. Legal immigration is set annually at about 1 million people. No other country accepts that many people as legal residents each and every year.

Kamala visited a port of entry facility. She was shown photos of how overcrowded an area was that held unaccompanied minors in 2016. I don’t think she received the answer she anticipated when she asked the border patrol agent with the photos ‘when did things improve?” The agent said in 2018 and “even more in 2019.” That was in the Trump administration and their policies to handle the border crisis that the administration experienced. Unlike the Harris/Biden administration, Trump went to work and handled the crisis. Biden’s open borders policies have increased the border crisis to historically high levels.

Questions went unanswered during press opportunities and when Kamala landed in El Paso, she took one question on the tarmac. FNC’s Peter Doocy asked her why she decided to go that day to the border. She snapped at him that she has taken many trips to the border. This trip, she said, was honoring her promise to visit the border she made back in March. What she didn’t say is that her other trips to the border were before she was elected vice-president and Biden delegated the border crisis to her, making her his Border Czar. As her visit wrapped up, she answered a few questions again on the tarmac. She offered no solutions or plans for the border crisis, only vague words about working on the root causes of illegal migration from countries in Central America. That’s fine but it does nothing for the immediate crisis. Lofty navel-gazing about why people choose to leave their home countries and come to America is for another day. Right now there are immediate decisions to be made. If the Biden administration only wants to throw millions of dollars at countries in the Northern Triangle, as previous administrations before the Trump administration did, absolutely nothing will change. We will continue to see cycles of migrants arriving at the southern border expecting to be allowed to cross into Texas or Arizona or California and stay.

Something interesting I was reminded of during Rep. Escobar’s comments yesterday is the fact that she sent staffers to Ciudad Juarez during the Trump administration. Migrants there under the Remain in Mexico program were coached on how to apply for asylum by her staffers. Also of note, Escobar’s husband, Michael Pleters, works for the Department of Justice as an immigration judge, so I’m sure Escobar’s staff has good advice to offer the asylum-seekers. Senator Marsha Blackburn remembered, too.

Kamala’s visit to El Paso was just to check a box and say she did it. It was for photo ops and complimentary press coverage from the useful idiots in her traveling press corps.

Some Trump supporters came out to greet Kamala as she traveled to the Border Patrol processing center.

We note that in the El Paso area, a system of border walls and barriers has been in use for several decades. El Paso experiences a very different level of problems with illegal migration that the RGV experiences. Kamala didn’t bother to make that connection or to actually go to the true border in El Paso and make a mention of border security measures there. This administration is not serious about finding solutions or acknowledging what truly works.