Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice, ahead of President Biden’s scheduled visit to El Paso, Texas:
“It’s only fitting that President Biden will travel to El Paso as part of his renewed engagement on immigration and border issues.
El Paso has been the epicenter for recent cross-currents of immigration policy and politics – from Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republicans’ preference for politicized stunts and chaotic deterrence policies instead of real attempts at problem solving; to the deadly reminders from the El Paso 2019 massacre about the dangers of mainstreaming and enabling white nationalist conspiracies that portray asylum seekers, immigrants and non-whites as invaders and threats.
But El Paso also is one of the safest big cities in America and is home to a community that demonstrates how we can manage to treat asylum seekers and migrants with dignity, hospitality and compassion alongside calls for additional resources and broader policy reforms. The under-resourced community of faith organizations and non-governmental groups who have provided care and shelter to arriving migrants has done incredible work, along with local governments, and remind us what American communities are capable of. The city also is represented in Congress by one of the true champions for creating a modern immigration system that is both welcoming and orderly, in Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX).
Nothing can replace the long overdue legislative fix needed to overhaul our laws and the Republican Party is hellbent on blocking such reform. But on the heels of the new Biden border and asylum policy announcement, which includes a proposed reincarnation of a Trump-era asylum ban, and ahead of the regional summit, the trip to El Paso should be a reminder that the United States can manage the complicated challenges of forced migration without compromising our values, laws or interests.”