Officials who deal with the reality at America’s southern border are willing to say what President Joe Biden will not: The flood of illegal immigrants overrunning facilities at the border is a crisis.
“A week ago I would not have called this a crisis. Today it meets the definition. We are overwhelmed,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Fox News for an article published Wednesday.
“We do not have the resources to stop the cartels from bringing in illegal aliens, from bringing in drugs, therefore we are in fact in a crisis,” he said.
An unnamed senior Customs and Border Protection official gave a similar assessment to Fox.
“The president understands it is a crisis which is why he told migrants ‘Don’t come over,'” the official said.
In February, encounters with migrants at the southern border were up 174 percent from the same time in 2020.
Pinal Country Sheriff Mark Lamb of Arizona said he can see the changes.
“This is as bad as it’s been. I mean, this is worse than what it was under the Obama days,” Lamb said Wednesday on the Fox News program “Fox & Friends.”
“[During the Obama administration] it was like the Wild West out there in the desert on the south end of our county and we’re back to that again,” Lamb said.
“Almost every time we go out we’re finding 20 people. Last Wednesday, we had 49 apprehensions in my county. So this is just like it was back in the Obama days, probably worse and on target to be worse.”
During a media briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the border situation “challenging” and blamed it on the Trump administration, according to a transcript of her comments.
“Well, the situation on the ground is certainly challenging, in part because we inherited a dismantled system that wasn’t prepared for processing asylum requests, that had left in place the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program,” she said.
“Well, I think what I’m conveying to you is that we are less than 60 days — about 60 days in. We are working to repair what has been an unprepared and dismantled system. It’s going to take some time. Our policy is that we’re obviously going to continue to make sure we’re working through our laws and the border is not open,” she said, adding, “Every day, we have new steps and new improvements we’re taking to make the system more efficient and effective.
“There are — we are taking steps to ensure that when kids come to the border, we look and see if they have a phone number in their pocket so we can call the family member and get them to those family members as quickly as possible. These are the steps that we’re taking at this point in time,” Psaki said.
“Our policy continues to be: We’re not going to send a 10-year-old back across the border. That was the policy of the last administration. That’s not our policy here,” she said.
The Biden administration was raked over the coals Wednesday by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said state authorities are not being allowed to interview children to address concerns about the spread of COVID-19 or to investigate human trafficking, according to the New York Post.
“The Biden administration is not being transparent with either the governor of Texas or the Texas Department of State Health Services,” Abbott told Fox.
“We need to know what the health situation of these kids are. We need to know if they’ve been exposed to variants of COVID.”
Abbott said Texas wants to arrest the smugglers who bring children across the border, but the Biden administration is not cooperating.
“Our law enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety — they need to do their job. Part of their job is making sure they track down and prosecute anybody involved in smuggling. Once the kids get over to the state of Texas, they are still involved with coyotes and smugglers and people like that, that we do have the ability to put arrest and put behind bars,” he said.
“The Biden administration is not letting us gain access to that information so that we can arrest and prosecute those that are assisting this immigration process.”
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