While the term “Potemkin village” may be based on myth, today it conveys a meaning suggestive of an intentional deception. It allegedly is based on an incident occurring in 1787 in Crimea. Russian Czarina Catherine the Great was to be shown a village involved in an effort aimed at transitioning Crimea to become part of Russia. Grigoriy Potemkin headed this effort but was lacking success by the time Catherine was scheduled to visit.
Potemkin devised a plan to deceive the Czarina about his failure. Knowing she would be viewing the village from a road situated on the far side of a river, he created the false image of a thriving village on the near side. He erected buildings with false facades, brought in Russian peasants to serve as villagers, created the illusion of numerous domestic animal herds when there was really but one, positioned stacks of bags marked “wheat” that were only filled with sand, etc. All this was done purely to hide the poverty and ruin that truly existed.
Accordingly, the term Potemkin village is applied to suggest a scam portraying a negative reality with a false positive appearance. This term immediately came to mind as President Joe Biden started the new year with a visit this past weekend to our southern border. However, what he was shown would have made Potemkin proud.
Biden visited the city of El Paso, Texas, which has recently been in the news as victimized by massive illegal-immigrant flooding. As our southern border with Mexico has nine sectors of which one – the El Paso Sector – has experienced the most migrant encounters in FY 2023, Biden coming to El Paso suggested he sought the truth about the border.
But prior to Biden’s visit, city officials had dismantled numerous homeless migrant encampments. Despite the hardships El Paso residents have been suffering from these floods of humanity, it was unsurprising to see the city’s Democratic mayor, Oscar Leeser, try to create a less chaotic environment for Biden to view by removing the encampments. Additionally, only days earlier, the Texas National Guard had installed two miles of fencing, serving as a barricade into the city, resulting in a drastic decrease in human flooding. Too bad Biden was not given a photograph of El Paso taken before his arrival.
Last month, Leeser walked away from a press conference with mic in hand when he was pressed on why he refused to declare a state of emergency due to the flooding. Undoubtedly, there was a quid pro quo involved as $6 million in federal funding had been promised to the city to handle a migrant problem the White House denies exists.
Leeser’s political career as a Democrat benefits by not criticizing Biden’s border policy. Such a position is ironic, however, as Leeser has transported twice as many illegals to New York City as his Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has. Interestingly, as Abbott’s vocal criticism of the border situation created by Biden’s incompetence has been loud and clear, for Leeser it is “mum’s the word.”
Abbott wasted no time in continuing his criticism as he met Biden upon his arrival in Texas. The governor hand-delivered a letter to him that cut to the chase. It began, “Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late.” He added the pointlessness of a visit that “avoids the sites where mass illegal immigration occurs,” visiting a city that “has been sanitized of the migrant camps which had overrun downtown El Paso because your Administration wants to shield you from the chaos that Texans experience on a daily basis.”
The letter went on to call for Biden to undertake a serious effort to secure the border, including to “stop sandbagging the implementation of the Remain-in-Mexico policy …, aggressively prosecute illegal entry between ports of entry, and allow ICE to remove illegal immigrants in accordance with existing federal laws,” and “immediately resume construction of the border wall.”
What perhaps is most telling about Biden’s border visit is that it was made 22 months after the appointment of a border czar to determine the root causes of the situation there – Vice President Kamala Harris – who has yet to provide us with even a cursory report of her findings. In April of 2021, she sought to justify her lack of progress on the issue, explaining it was “complex.” However, by May of 2022, she was accused of simply abandoning the issue on her own, failing even to host an immigration event for the nine previous months.
When Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb heard about Biden making a border visit, he suggested the president kick it off with an apology to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for falsely accusing mounted agents last year of horse whipping illegals. No such apology was given by Biden, whom Lamb criticizes for failing to cover agents’ backs. Rarely has the CBP been so challenged as it is today and more deserving of presidential support – which it is not receiving. Such lack of support is inexplicable absent a president’s personal desire for an open border.
While Biden’s border visit now allows him to counter critics on the issue, the Potemkin village he viewed in El Paso will allow him to downplay claims of massive illegal immigration. However, one big difference exists between the 1787 Potemkin Village and that of 2023. Catherine the Great was totally unaware she was being deceived by what she saw; Biden knows otherwise.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.