Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Some have compared the cleansing in El Paso, Texas, before President Biden’s border visit to the fake villages that Grigory Potemkin is said to have set up along a route traveled by Catherine the Great. Those fake villages were intended to fool Catherine by hiding the truly horrible conditions.

The more apt comparison is to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, which, like what happened in El Paso with the full knowledge of the president and his advisers, was designed to fool the public.

The reality that Mr. Biden wanted to hide from the world is that El Paso, like so many other border communities, is inundated with huge numbers of aliens. In one two-day period in December, Border Patrol agents released more than 650 aliens into the city. El Paso officials have reported weekend border “surges” bringing more than 2,400 aliens per day into the area. Aliens are spilling out of shelters and sleeping on the streets and in parking garages, overwhelming the city’s law enforcement and social service agencies.

Before Mr. Biden’s Jan. 8 visit, his administration mobilized law enforcement and immigration officials to remove encampments of homeless aliens. They were systematically rounded up, arrested, relocated or deported to erase the heartbreaking evidence of the depth of the immigration crisis. Video footage of the cleanup effort shows Border Patrol agents “driving up in vans with flashing lights and rustling tents where families were sleeping.” The sweeps even included areas adjacent to churches, which have been treated as sanctuaries from Border Patrol activity by this “open borders, nothing-to-see-here” administration.

When the president landed in El Paso, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, handed him a letter criticizing the “sanitization” charade and Mr. Biden’s failure to address the ever-worsening chaos at the southern border. That chaos, the letter said, “is the direct result” of Mr. Biden’s failure to enforce federal immigration laws. The cleansing was a cynical attempt to continue the lie that there is “nothing to see here” on the southern border.

The 1936 Berlin Olympics was conducted with similar method and intent. Western nations were hesitant to compete due to the rampant antisemitism being implemented by the new Nazi government. Hitler’s solution: Sanitize the city to hide what was really going on. That included removing all “Jews not wanted” signs and similar slogans throughout the city. Other actions included having the Berlin police arrest and intern 800 Roma “in a special Gypsy camp in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn.”

Then, “Olympic organizers, businessmen and politicians were invited to Germany for ‘sanitized visits’” where the government ensured they “witnessed no strife, spoke with happy Germans and were promised that the games would be open to all.”

It was all a facade, but it worked. The carefully orchestrated propaganda ultimately led the United States to accept Germany’s invitation to the Olympic Games.

If the similar actions taken in preparation for Mr. Biden’s border visit and the 1936 Berlin Olympics do not convince you, their shared intentions should. Both the government of prewar Germany and the Biden White House actively led a propaganda campaign designed to discredit those who knew the truth of their respective situations. Hitler’s Potemkin-like Berlin and Mr. Biden’s Potemkin-like El Paso both tried to shroud the truth. The administration worked hard to hide the reality that has made El Paso a city in crisis, overwhelmed by waves of illegal aliens.

Some may ask: Isn’t it possible that Mr. Biden doesn’t actually know what the city looked like before his visit? That would require you to believe he is so ignorant of actual border conditions that his “handlers” successfully pulled the wool over their boss’s eyes. That would make the situation even worse.

The bottom line is that the Biden administration can and will try to hide the truth. But it will fail, just as the effort to hide the truth in Berlin also ultimately failed.

• Hans von Spakovsky and Cully Stimson are senior legal fellows at The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.