CNN reporter Rosa Flores called out President Joe Biden on Monday for not actually seeing any migrants when he visited El Paso on Sunday.
Biden visited the border city, an epicenter of the migrant crisis, on Sunday. It was his first official visit to the southern border. Still, the visit earned swift criticism because Biden did not actually witness any of the chaos that has plagued El Paso since migrants began flooding into the city. The areas where Biden visited were even cleaned up.
What did Flores say?
Speaking on “CNN This Morning,” Flores confirmed that Biden did not interact with migrants during his visiting and explained why it generated criticism from “both sides.”
“That’s why the president is being criticized by both sides, because of what he didn’t see,” she said, pointing to a “migrant camp.”
“You know, the immigration advocates here in El Paso and Gov. Greg Abbott usually don’t agree on much, but they do raise the same question,” Flores revealed. “If President Biden came here to El Paso to see the reality on the ground about the border, and he didn’t come here, what’s considered the epicenter of this crisis — did he leave with a clear understanding?”
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According to Flores, the Biden administration excused his failure to interact with migrants by claiming there weren’t any with whom Biden could interact.
But that’s not true, Flores explained.
“My colleague, M.J. Lee, asked the White House about the president not interacting or meeting with any migrants, and a senior administration official told her that it was because there were no migrants at the respite center at the time that the president visited, and that it was coincidental,” Flores said.
“But I checked the migrant dashboard that the city of El Paso has, and at the time when the president was here, there were nearly 1,000 migrants who were in federal detention,” she pointed out. “So, if the president really wanted to see conditions, I kind of doubt that the president of the United States would have been denied access.”
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser (D) denied the city was “sanitized” ahead of Biden’s visit. Rather, he claimed the cleanup was routine.
“The areas in which the migrants have gathered have been routinely cleaned by the City as a matter of practice. If we hadn’t been doing that we would have created a health hazard,” Lesser said in a statement.
“The difference wasn’t the President’s visit; the difference was the decrease in numbers of individuals crossing,” he added. “We’d seen days with crossings as high as 2,500 a day, and we are now seeing 500. The decrease in numbers leads to less crowded areas which optimizes our cleaning efforts.”