Disturbing images of Biden’s border facilities revealed as VP finally calls back Guatemala president

Disturbing images of Biden’s border facilities revealed as VP finally calls back Guatemala president


Disturbing images emerged this week showing dire conditions at Arizona border patrol facilities as tens of thousands of migrants are packed together in overcrowded trailers and makeshift mylar tents.

Rafa Rivera, regional president of the National Border Patrol Council, told the Washington Examiner that more than 1,500 migrants were in custody in Yuma, Arizona at one point this week.

‘Usually around this time through the holidays, it slows down, but here in Yuma, it was constant,’ Rivera noted.

Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls declared a state of emergency on December 9 after 6,000 people were taken into custody by Border Patrol in the course of five days. The behemoth figure equates to the number of migrants intercepted in an average month over the past two decades.

The surge and revelation of overcrowding also comes amid a massive surge in infection rates for COVID-19 with the Omicron variant – leading to further questions on the holding conditions in the middle of the pandemic.

Kamala Harris had a phone call on Monday with Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei after a barrage of criticism continues to hit the vice president over her handling of the southern border crisis.

During the call, Harris ‘reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to working together with Guatemala on a broad agenda that includes the root causes of migration, trafficking, economic development, and anti-corruption,’ according to a statement from her office.

Disturbing images of Biden’s border facilities revealed as VP finally calls back Guatemala president

New images reveal thousands of migrants are stranded in overcrowded border facilities in Yuma, Arizona

People are touching their neighbors as they try to lie down and rest under mylar blankets, while other attempt to traverse a narrow walkway

People are touching their neighbors as they try to lie down and rest under mylar blankets, while other attempt to traverse a narrow walkway  

Makeshift tents of mylar blankets, caution tape and sand bags are set up for overflow holding outside the facilities in Yuma

Makeshift tents of mylar blankets, caution tape and sand bags are set up for overflow holding outside the facilities in Yuma

The call came after Giammattei went public with his dissatisfaction regarding communication over the last several months with the vice president and White House. 

More than 65,000 non-citizens were caught illegally crossing into Yuma from Mexico between September and November, which is higher than encounters in typical years.

In November, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 173,620 migrants at the southern border, an increase from the 164,753 in October. December figures have not yet been released.

The photos obtained by the Examiner underscore the dangers migrants, border officials and the city of Yuma are facing amid the prevailing border crisis, four people familiar with the situation told the outlet.

A woman climbs on top of stacks of luggage at a Yuma Border Patrol facility

A woman climbs on top of stacks of luggage at a Yuma Border Patrol facility

In November, Customs and Border Protection encountered 173,620 migrants at the southern border, an increase from the 164,753 in October. December figures have not yet been released

In November, Customs and Border Protection encountered 173,620 migrants at the southern border, an increase from the 164,753 in October. December figures have not yet been released

CBP has had to speed up processing for migrants to quell overcrowding with those in custody now being discharged within a day or two of being taken in. Here migrants wait in a hallway of a makeshift facility

CBP has had to speed up processing for migrants to quell overcrowding with those in custody now being discharged within a day or two of being taken in. Here migrants wait in a hallway of a makeshift facility

Migrants were forced outside to set up camps. At one point this week, 1,500 migrants were in custody at the Yuma, Arizona facility

Migrants were forced outside to set up camps. At one point this week, 1,500 migrants were in custody at the Yuma, Arizona facility

Border Patrol authorities have had to speed up their processing for migrants in order to quell the overcrowding issue. Those in custody are now being discharged within a day or two of being taken into custody due to the lack of space and need for quick turnover of holding space for new arrivals.

Discharge can mean several things, including being released into the U.S., returned to their home country or pushed south of the border to remain in Mexico as they await immigration proceedings.

In the first months of his presidency, President Joe Biden tasked Harris with addressing the crisis – refusing to ever directly acknowledge that the situation at the border was a ‘crisis.’

As border czar, Harris’ office quickly branded her role as addressing the ‘root causes’ of migration that lead thousands of people to flee their home countries en route to the U.S.

In June, Harris visited with President Giammattei during a trip to Guatemala that was widely seen as a failure. Republicans say she is not focusing on the ‘real’ issues of the border crisis while Democrats decried her for sending the message that the border is not open to migrants in the pandemic.

Since the botched trip, Giammattei has lamented that he has not received any correspondence from Harris regarding their efforts to improve living and economic conditions in Northern Triangle countries. 

The White House said on Monday of their latest call: ‘The two leaders discussed ongoing bilateral cooperation to disrupt human smuggling networks through the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force the Vice President announced during her June 2021 visit to Guatemala.’

‘The Vice President noted the importance of holding corrupt actors accountable, highlighting that corruption erodes public trust and undermines effective, accountable governance,’ it added. ‘The Vice President updated President Giammattei on U.S. government efforts to generate economic growth through the Call to Action she launched in May 2021, which has generated over $1.2 billion dollars of private sector investment to the region.’

Despite being designated to run point for root migration problems for the White House, Giammattei revealed last month that they had only spoken one time.

‘Other than your meeting with Kamala Harris in June?’ Fox News ‘ John Roberts asked Giammattei in an early December interview.

‘That is the only one,’ he responded.

Roberts asked Giammattei if he found it ‘odd’ he had only spoken to Harris once, and had little contact with the Biden administration. The Guatemalan leader responded through a translator that he has had meetings with the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala, spoke to President Biden once by phone to introduce himself and had one visit from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Asked if Harris had taken the steps to address the root problems of migration, Giammattei said: ‘Quite frankly I would say there is still much to be done.’

Giammattei said during the Trump administration there was more ‘direct communication.’

‘I worked one year with the Trump administration and now almost one year with the Biden administration. With the Trump administration the communication was more direct. Maybe we were not in a agreement all the time, but we would have a conversation and we would finally reach some consensus.’

Kamala Harris (left) had a phone call with Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei (right) on Monday after the leader lamented of a lack of communication from the White House following his June meeting with the vice president in Guatemala

Kamala Harris (left) had a phone call with Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei (right) on Monday after the leader lamented of a lack of communication from the White House following his June meeting with the vice president in Guatemala 

‘The question now is who do we speak to,’ he added. 

In the months following her trip to Guatemala, Mexico and the southern border, at least seven aides left Harris’ office in a mass staff exodus amid reports of tensions, a ‘bully’ mentality and a toxic work environment.

Many migrants have shared they felt empowered to make the trek to the U.S because Biden said in his 2020 campaign that he would accept all asylum-seekers – a huge pivot from his predecessor’s hard-line immigration policies.

CBP data shows that officers encountered more than 1.75 million migrants at the southern border since Biden took office in January 2021.

Numbers released in December show the agency’s officers encountered 173,620 illegal crossers in November alone, representing a 140 per cent uptick in illegal crossings from the same month last year, when there were only 72,113 encounters.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies report on the Census Bureau’s monthly Current Population Study (CPS), immigrants made up 14.2 per cent of the U.S population as of November 2021.

This amounts to 46.2 million immigrants – both illegal and legal – living in the U.S.

The latest figure is the highest the proportional U.S. immigrant population has been in 111 years. It is also triple the share of the population since 1970 and double since 1990.



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Author: Shirley