Posted on January 6, 2021

Migrants Chanting ‘Biden! Biden!’ Attempt to Rush Border

Todd Bensman, Center for Immigration Studies, January 4, 2021

Almost lost in the distractions of the holiday weekend, on the night of December 29 up to 400 mostly Cuban migrants forced their way past Mexican immigration and over payment turnstiles on the Paso del Norte Bridge from Ciudad Juarez with a desire to force their way into downtown El Paso, Texas, according to news reporting. {snip}

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mobile Field Force officers met them in riot gear and used concrete blocks tipped by concertina wire to block the onslaught mid-bridge as many of the migrants chanted “Biden! Biden!” Many demanded they be let in to live in the United States while they pursue asylum claims, instead of waiting in Mexico as required under various policies of President Donald Trump.


A source told the Center for Immigration Studies that CBP and Mexican authorities on the international bridge to the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry broke up another, smaller migrant formation demanding U.S. entry. Otherwise, the extent to which the attempted incursions occurred elsewhere along the southern border remains unclear at this time. But a question naturally arises from these events.


This was not the first time CBP under Donald Trump has forcefully responded to surging migrants hoping to overrun the port of entry at El Paso and will almost certainly not be the last there or elsewhere.

Especially not now, judging by the chants and media interviews on the Paso del Norte Bridge this time about Biden’s many immigration promises heard widely throughout the Americas and beyond, including an amnesty bill, an end to deportations, and reversal of Trump immigration policies during his first 100 days in office. {snip}

The migrants on that bridge showed up with high expectations that the coming Biden administration somehow had already managed to swing open the gates as promised, never mind that Trump still has a few weeks to go.

The Mexican newspaper El Sol de Parral quoted Enrique Valenzuela, head of the Chihuahua State Council for Population and Migration, who was at the bridge last week, as saying a false social media rumor that the Americans would start letting migrants pass through that night easily sparked the event. He said that happened because “there is expectation, there is hope and there is enthusiasm in them [sic] who believe that with the change of administration comes new measures and that they will immediately enter and there will be new conditions that will allow them to request asylum.”

Raul Pino Gonzalez of Havana was quoted at the bridge saying: “They should let us pass. We are calling out to Mexico and the U.S. and to Biden, the new U.S. president, to remind him of the presidential campaign promises he made. To make him aware we are here.”


While the exact number of migrants pooled up in Mexico is not clear, the reservoir of people who would enter through any first breach is clearly vast and deep.

Several Trump policies that Biden promises to reverse have forced economic migrants who’d use the asylum system to attain American prosperity to wait in Mexico since the summer of 2019. One of those policies, the Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program), has returned some 70,000 mostly economic migrants to Mexico to wait for their mostly meritless asylum claims to process, preventing them from disappearing inside the United States after judges inevitably decline those claims.

The Trump administration has required other migrants to remain in Mexico under a separate policy known as “metering”, whereby they are individually invited over to lodge an asylum claim so as to avoid swamping processes at the ports of entry. More than 5,500 Cubans entered that line in 2019 in Juarez alone. {snip}

The third policy is pandemic-related, where new asylum claims have been slowed to a crawl and Border Patrol agents who apprehend migrants immediately return most to Mexico so that detention centers cannot become Covid-19 incubators. {snip}