Former second lady Dr. Jill Biden, whose husband, former vice president Joe Biden, is running for the 2020 Democrat nomination, handed out tamales and Christmas gifts to migrants in Mexico as part of a visit with local leaders on Sunday.
Biden toured a migrant camp across the border from Brownsville, Texas, home to over 2,000 asylum-seekers. Many of the migrants, often referred to as MPPs, have remained in Mexico as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Migrant Protection Protocols program as they await hearings before U.S. immigration officials.
— Border Report (@BorderReportcom) December 23, 2019
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s really heartbreaking,” Biden said of the camp, according to Border Report. “Across the river is the flag of the United States. The flag of the United States offers people hope. They’re bringing their families and their loved ones here for hope of a better future and a better life for themselves.”
Jill Biden attended event with asylum-seekers in Matamoros, Mexico. pic.twitter.com/ZSbCUpe4yM
— The Hill (@thehill) December 23, 2019
“We are all immigrants and our nation was built on immigration and immigrants and we are welcoming nation, but that’s not the message we are sending here at the border. We’re saying ‘Stop, don’t come in!’ And that’s not who we are,” she added.
Joining Biden was Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), who told ABC 50 that the purpose of the trip was to bring the Christmas spirit south of the border.
“Given the fact that it’s Christmas time, it was important to do something special for these people,” said Vela.
“A few months ago we had to come to the frank realization that long-term, unless something happens to MPP soon, we couldn’t expect things were going to change for them. That’s why everybody here has stepped up,” he told the former second lady.
Biden isn’t the first Democrat campaign official to visit the Matamoros camp. White House candidate and former Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro made a trip there in October.
In July, then-presidential candidate and former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke traveled to Ciudad Juarez to meet with Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), another White House candidate, also made a similar trip to the Mexican border town in July to meet with migrants.