West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has acknowledged there is a crisis at the southern border, bucking the tone from the Biden administration and other Democrats.
President Joe Biden’s reversal of several of the Trump administration’s immigration policies appears to have given the impression Biden would be much friendlier to those coming from Central and South America, resulting in a surge of migrants crossing the border.
Many Democrats have refused to use the word “crisis” publicly in an attempt to keep Biden’s record on immigration squeaky clean.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly deflected when asked about the situation, instead placing blame on the Trump administration.
“Does the President believe that his administration has a handle on what’s happening on the southern border right now?” a reporter asked Monday during a briefing.
“We certainly do,” Psaki responded. “And let me just give you a bit of an update on a couple of the steps that we’re taking. You know, first, let me say that, like COVID — obviously a different issue, but we recognize this is a big problem — the last administration left us a dismantled and unworkable system. And like any other problem, we are going to do everything we can to solve it.”
The most concerning development in the crisis involves children crossing the border, as they cannot simply be released before being processed properly.
“Whatever message was sent — it was sure interpreted the wrong way,” Manchin told CNN.
“It’s a crisis — oh it’s a crisis,” he said, adding that he would wait for a briefing before judging how the Biden administration has responded so far.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is currently assisting to process children and aid Border Patrol, as some facilities have been operating at well over 100 percent capacity.
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy on Monday asked Psaki whether FEMA’s presence at the border meant the situation could officially be called a “disaster.”
“I know that we always get into the fun of labels around here,” Psaki responded. “But I would say our focus is on solutions, and this is one of the steps that the president felt would help not become a final solution, but help expedite processing, help ensure that people who are coming across the border have access to health and medical care.”
“With FEMA though, specifically their mission is helping people before, during and after disasters,” Doocy said. “We’ve heard you say that it’s a problem, that it’s a challenge. Is it now a disaster?”
“I appreciate the opportunity. I do like your mask,” Psaki replied. “But I will say that FEMA is there to help ensure that the people who are at the border, who are coming across the border, have access to [Health and Human Services] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] shelters, that we can swiftly place them with vetted families.
“They’re playing a number of roles there to address what we feel is a significant problem and a significant challenge and I think we haven’t been hiding about that.”
BORDER: Jen Psaki asked if FEMA presence at border means what’s happening there is a “disaster.” pic.twitter.com/y22uZpBDqq
— Forbes (@Forbes) March 15, 2021
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discussed the decision to direct FEMA support to the border on Saturday.
“I am grateful for the exceptional talent and responsiveness of the FEMA team. I am incredibly proud of the agents of the Border Patrol, who have been working around the clock in difficult circumstances to take care of children temporarily in our care,” he said in a statement. “Yet, as I have said many times, a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child.”
The crisis at the border is the direct result of the Biden administration’s failed immigration policy.
The Biden administration:
❌ Brought back catch and release
❌ Halted construction of the wall
❌ Ended the Remain in Mexico policy
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 16, 2021
Thankfully, it seems Manchin understands that the situation at the border has a serious impact on many people’s lives, and Biden’s messaging was partially responsible for the sudden uptick. One can only hope other Democrats will soon see the same light.
In any case, Democrats and Republicans need to work together to streamline the immigration process and secure the border, but that will not happen unless the Biden administration decides to hold itself accountable.
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