EL PASO, Texas (Nexstar) — As President Biden completes his first presidential visit to the southern U.S. border, the people seeking asylum and warmth outside of the Sacred Heart Church in El Paso hope he takes away a glimpse of their reality.
“We know that we broke the law,” said John Carrasquero, who moved away from his young daughter in Venezuela and crossed into the U.S. illegally seven days ago. “But if we have an opportunity we can make a difference in things. For example, I would like to work, because I have a family. I would like to help my family, also myself, to change my life.”
The Sacred Heart Church has been a refuge for migrants since the city saw a sharp rise in border crossings late last year. Even though the crowds shrank substantially in the last week, hundreds of people still wait there for aid.
Some queued for scant boxes of donated bananas and pan dulce, as young children rolled toys along a sidewalk lined with sleeping bags. One man rested under the shade of city trashcans as he shined a sign that read “We are human.”
“It has been a blessing, but it’s also been overwhelming,” Pastor Timothy Perea said. “The blessing is that we’re able to collect local communities, churches, to come together and provide shelter, food, clothing, hope, whatever they need.”
Biden visits El Paso, makes surprise stop
After Air Force One landed in El Paso, Biden met Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on the airport tarmac, where Abbott presented the President with a letter.
While en route to the El Paso County Migrant Services Center, Biden’s motorcade made an unexpected stop at the border fence and looked through the wire at the city of Juarez.
“They need a lot of resources. We’re going to get it for them,” said Biden, responding to a press question about Abbott’s letter.
Biden toured the migrant center afterward, which processes 300-500 migrants each day. He returned to Air Force One, departing around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday for Mexico City.
Biden did not see the scene outside Sacred Heart.
“Let him meet the people that are here, let him hear their stories,” said Blake Barrow, Rescue Mission of El Paso’s executive director.
In Mexico, Biden will meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to discuss supply chains, security, fentanyl and migration.