President Joe Biden said he “thinks” he should check out the southern border for himself at a town hall on Thursday night, days after new data revealed a record number of migrants have been taken into US custody this year.
Biden praised his success in reducing the number of children in border patrol custody at a CNN City Hall in Baltimore hosted by Anderson Cooper.
The president said the number of children incarcerated in the first year of his presidency went from 5,000 to 504.
But new data obtained by the Washington Post shows that between October 2020 and September 2021, the US detained more than 1.7 million migrants along the US-Mexico border — the highest number since 1986.
When asked by Cooper if he should go to the border, Biden said, “I’ve been there before…I know well…I think I should go down.”
President Biden answered questions on everything from climate change to immigration at a Thursday night at CNN City Hall in Baltimore
Asked by host Anderson Cooper if he should go to the border, Biden said, “I’ve been there before…I know well…I think I should go down.”
The US detained more than 1.7 million migrants along the US-Mexico border between October 2020 and September 2021 – the highest number since 1986
He cited recent hurricanes and world travel as reasons why he “hasn’t had much time to go down.”
“I’ve spent time looking at the $900 billion in damage done by hurricanes and flooding and weather and traveling around the world.
“My wife Jill fell. She’s been on both sides of the river. She has seen the conditions there. She’s seen those places. You find that you don’t see many pictures of kids laying on top of each other with what looks like tarps on them. We were able to deal with that.
“We have been able to significantly increase funding through HHS to provide shelter for these children and people. But much more needs to be done. The thing that worries me most is getting control over it.’
The commander in chief admitted to holding Title 42 — a Trump-era edict that allows the government to unilaterally expel migrants over concerns about COVID-19 — in place because of high levels of the virus in Latin America.
“It’s very, very high. And so we have maintained the policy. We do not return children. We send adults back and we send large families back.
“But in those circumstances, we don’t send children back. That is why I have a proposal to provide more than a billion doses of Covid vaccine to the rest of the world, including a significant portion to Latin and Central America.”
Biden answered immigration questions from Republican law student Megan Crawford
Biden says he has retained title 42, which will allow the government to expel migrants for public health reasons due to high levels of COVID in Latin America. Above, volunteers clear up the Rio Bravo River, on the Mexico-US border, on October 17
He also said he was upholding Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy because the courts said he should. Above, Border Agents Discover Sisters Ages 4 and 6 at the Arizona Border This Month
The 78-year-old president also argued that he should enforce Donald Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” policy because “the court said I should enforce it.”
Trump created the Migrant Protection Protocols, or ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy in 2019. It forces asylum seekers in Mexico to wait for US hearings on asylum cases.
Trump argued that many asylum applications were fraudulent and that applicants allowed to enter the United States could remain illegal if they skipped court hearings, according to Reuters.
Biden, a Democrat, ended the policy shortly after taking office in January, promising a more humane approach, but Texas U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ordered him to keep it in August.
During Thursday’s City Hall, Biden answered a series of questions from University of Baltimore law student Megan Crawford, a Republican.
Illegal crossings began to skyrocket in the months after Biden was inaugurated — and while the administration initially tried to blame Trump’s policies for the increase, some migrants say they made the trek to the US believing the new government would allow them to stay.
A border police officer brandishes what appears to be a whip as he tries to prevent Haitian migrants from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande on September 19, 2020
“They weren’t wrong,” North Carolina representative Dan Bishop tweeted about the migrant assumptions.
Another draw, migrants said, was the labor shortage in the US, showing them a need for workers.
In another dismissal of the growing crisis, Biden previously described the spring 2021 surge as consistent with seasonal norms.
That didn’t hold true, however, as most illegal crossings took place during the hottest months of the year, July and August.
More than 200,000 migrants were detained by the Dutch DPA every month.
Last month, more than 25,000 Haitian migrants arrived in the border town of Del Rio, Texas, quickly overwhelming local officials there, creating chaotic scenes of border patrols using horse reins that looked like whips near the migrants.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reportedly asked senior officials if the border was ready for a worst-case scenario of 350,000 to 400,000 migrants crossing the border this month, two DHS officials told NBC.
Haitian migrants wait Tuesday to board a boat that will take them to Colombia as they migrate from South America to the US – a sign that the migration crisis will not end anytime soon
Illegal border crossings in the south are at their highest level in decades under President Biden
Biden said on Thursday he ‘didn’t have much time to go to the border’
On September 26, Mayorkas revealed that 12,000 Haitian migrants have been released in the US pending their immigration hearings and that another 5,000 are still pending.
This means that at least 17,000 Haitian migrants have illegally entered the US and are seeking asylum.
Biden opened City Hall joking that he had been in the Senate for “370 years” and that he was “relatively good at making deals,” according to CNN.
He must Sens. Still convincing Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to vote for his massive $2 trillion infrastructure plan.
Biden called Sinema “clever as the devil” and Manchin “a friend” as he continued to court their votes.