On the russiatrek.org website Sergei Rzhevsky recounts that in Russia, there is a phrase “Potemkin villages” which means fake things made to impress. It originates from a historical myth of fake villages built on the orders of Prince Grigory Potemkin along the route of the Russian Empress Catherine II during her visit in the northern Black Sea region in 1787.
In this remote region recently captured during the war with the Ottoman Empire, she saw numerous buildings, troops, prosperous population. These achievements surprised not only the Empress, but also foreigners, who were traveling with her.
It turned out that they were all fake – temporary facades constructed to look like buildings and troops and “villagers” moved from place to place to make it look like there was a happy, prosperous population in the newly conquered territories.
It also turns out that, according to Mr. Rzhevsky, Russians are still building fake facades on buildings to impress their leaders. True or not, “Potemkin village” has come into common parlance to describe efforts to put a false front on an otherwise grim situation.
And in going to extraordinary lengths to put a false front on a grim situation, the Russians, historical and present, have nothing on the Democrat city officials and Biden administration immigration officials in El Paso, Texas.
Andrew R. Arthur, writing for the Center for Immigration Studies reports that prior to President Joe Biden’s recent visit to El Paso, multiple outlets reported that the El Paso that Biden visited is a sanitized version of the actual chaotic scene there.
Even CNN, an objectively Biden-friendly outlet, described the president’s drop-in as a “tightly controlled visit”, explaining that after standing “for several minutes along the iron fence separating the US and Mexico as he spoke with officers in green uniforms”, Biden then went to “a migrant processing center, where he did not appear to meet with any migrants”.
The outlet reports (somewhat incredulously):
Asked to explain the thinking behind having Biden visit this specific center and ultimately not meeting or interacting with any migrants there, a senior administration official told CNN, “There just weren’t any at the center when he arrived. Completely coincidental. They haven’t had any today.”
Part of the reason why — “completely coincidentally” — there were no migrants at that center may have been because things in El Paso had been cleaned up ahead of time.
According to the New York Post on January 7 — the day before the president’s visit — “Authorities in El Paso have been tearing down migrant encampments under cover of darkness and dispatching hundreds of migrants across the border to Mexico ahead of” the president’s visit.
The paper reported that encampments in the downtown area had been dismantled, busloads of Venezuelan migrants had been spotted heading south, and rumors were rampant that Border Patrol would deport migrants who were spotted on the streets.
And, as Mr. Arthur documented for CIS, things along the border in El Paso are grim, indeed. In just the first two months (October and November) of FY 2023, agents in El Paso sector have already apprehended more than 106,500 illegal entrants — nearly double the total for all of FY 2020 (fewer than 54,400), and nearly as many apprehensions there as in FY 2014 to FY 2018 combined (fewer than 110,000).
El Paso is the largest city on the Southwest border (population: 687,222), but even it is struggling to handle the flood of migrants that Biden’s DHS has unleashed on its streets.
Back in September Mr. Arthur reported that El Paso was so overwhelmed with border releases that it had started its own bus service to New York City to move those migrants along.
More recently (in mid-December), the city announced a state of emergency in response to the border rush, with plans to house up to 10,000 released migrants once CDC orders directing the expulsion of illegal entrants, issued pursuant to Title 42 of the U.S. Code in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, expire (which will happen at a date currently TBD).
The Republican Governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott was having none of the phony Potemkin village clean-up and asserted that El Paso had “been sanitized of the migrant camps which had overrun” the city’s downtown because the administration “wants to shield” the president “from the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis.”
And, Governor Abbott wasn’t the only Texan to decry the phony façade El Paso put on. Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales says Biden barred him from his ‘Potemkin Village’ border tour. “They told me that I couldn’t attend. The president essentially lied to my face,” Gonzales told “Fox & Friends.”
Lots of before and after pictures may be found on social media illustrating the level of fakery Democrats engaged in to hide the illegal border crossing disaster in El Paso. Here’s a tweet from former Republican Representative Mayra Flores:
From our days doing presidential and vice-presidential advances we well recall Democrats demanding to know how much money was spent on every jot and tittle related to the trip, so we wonder how much the temporary clean-up cost, who ordered it and who covered the bill. The Capitol Switchboard is (202) 224-3121 call your Representative to demand the new House Republican majority investigate who ordered and paid for what for Biden’s ‘Potemkin Village’ trip to El Paso.
Biden border visit
El Paso cleanup
migrant processing center
Governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas