Officials and local nonprofits at the southern border are expecting a return to the chaotic "normal" of the past two years after President Biden visited El Paso for what many have described as a brief stroll through a Potemkin village.
Retired Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge of the El Paso Station Clay Thomas told the Daily Caller that immigration enforcement was surged to make things "look normal" before Biden's visit, but things will return to the way they were now that the photo-op is finished.
After ignoring the border crisis for almost two entire years, Biden was in and out of El Paso in just four hours on Sunday.
There were no splashy briefings during Biden's subdued, quiet visit, nor were there any crammed tent encampments to be seen in the White House's carefully choreographed photos.
Immigrants had been swept off the streets prior to Biden's arrival, leading to speculation of a cover-up.
"President Biden was here, everything was pretty quiet. And within days of him leaving, everything will go back to normal operations as usual, per status quo,” Thomas said.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told the Daily Caller that patrols have been stepped up "in response to migrants evading apprehension in the El Paso area." Fox News, citing sources inside CBP, similarly reported that the camps were cleared away after local residents complained about an uptick in crime.
But many suspect a political motive, given the curious timing of the enforcement surge after almost two years of constant pandemonium in border towns that Biden has ignored.
A Border Patrol agent called it a "slap in the face" that it took a presidential photo-op for residents to be able to experience, even briefly, some normalcy and order.
“It was a slap in the face to citizens of El Paso to deal with this migrant surge since this administration took over, to have streets cleaned and camps moved out of sight for a few hours,” the agent, who remained anonymous, said.
The Border Patrol Union told the Daily Mail that Biden likely timed his visit strategically, as border crossings typically fall in January.
"Biden has all those figures. He knows all the trends. He knows when the best time to come to the border. And he knows that the beginning of January is absolutely the best time."
El Paso declared an emergency in December as a surge of immigrants poured in, peaking at over 2,000 a day. That number has since fallen to about 700 per day.
A local nonprofit also told the Daily Caller that, whether the lull in the crisis is "intentional or coincidental," things are expected to "be back to normal" shortly.