President Joe Biden blamed former President Donald Trump for the massive surge of migrants trying to cross the border during his first news conference since he took office in January.
“There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year,” Biden said.
“The reason they’re coming is that it’s the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat of the desert, number one. Number two, they’re coming because of the circumstances in country.”
The Democratic president cited a bipartisan plan he created when he was vice president that would have provided $700 million to look into why people are leaving their home countries.
The plan he referenced was a $750 million aid package the Obama administration gave to Central American governments to help stem the flow of migrants to the United States, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
“What did Trump do? He eliminated that funding. He didn’t use it, he didn’t do it,” Biden said.
“What he did is he dismantled all the elements that exist to deal with what had been a problem and has continued to be a problem for a long time.”
According to Biden, Trump lowered the number of beds available for migrants and didn’t give enough funding to the Health and Human Services Department to move unaccompanied minors out of the Border Patrol facilities.
“He dismantled all of that. So what we’re doing now is attempting to rebuild,” Biden said.
He added that the “vast majority” of people crossing the border “are being sent back.”
According to Customs and Border Protection, in February, the Biden administration admitted nearly 60 percent of the 19,246 “family unit” migrants encountered at the border into the U.S. as they awaited their court hearings.
Administration officials claimed thousands of migrants are still being turned away under the Trump administration’s Title 42 public health order passed in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reported.
Over 100,000 migrants were apprehended at the border in February alone, according to CBP data.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a Tuesday news conference that Biden himself led to the migrant surge.
“Expectations were created that with the government of President Biden, there would be a better treatment of migrants,” López Obrador said, according to Fox News.
“And this has caused Central American migrants, and also from our country, wanting to cross the border thinking that it is easier to do so,” he added.
The Mexican president offered his support for Biden’s plan to pump about $4 billion into Central American countries.
“There needs to be support for the development of Central America and the south of Mexico. Particularly Central America,” López Obrador said.
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