By Jack Davis
The seeds of the crisis at the border that bloomed upon his inauguration as president were planted by former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden insisted in a new interview.
In an interview that aired Friday on NBC’s “Today,” Biden continued his refusal to use the word “crisis” to describe the vast surge in illegal immigration that began when he took office and claimed that nothing taking place is really his fault.
The president tried to paint a picture of progress at the border.
“It’s getting urgent action now. For example, a month ago, we had thousands of young kids in custody in places they shouldn’t be controlled by the Border Patrol. We have now cut that down dramatically,” he said.
But it all goes back to Trump, Biden insisted, claiming his predecessor left him “one god-awful mess at the border.”
The president said the critical issue that led to the border crisis was “the failure to have a real transition. The two departments that didn’t give us access to virtually anything were the immigration and the Defense Department,” he said.
“So we didn’t find out that they had fired a whole lot people, that they were understaffed considerably,” he said.
When asked by interviewer Craig Melvin about the reality of the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the border — “a 20-year record” — Biden downplayed the extent of the problem.
“Well, look, it’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control. For example, we have — they didn’t plan for, which it comes every year, this flow, whether it’s 22,000 or 10,000,” he said.
“They didn’t have the beds that were available,” the president said. “They didn’t plan for the overflow. They didn’t plan for the Department of Health and Human Services to have places to take the kid from, from the Border Patrol and put them in beds where there was security and there were people that could take care of them.
“So there’s a significant change right now.”
Biden’s framing of the border crisis as routine goes against comments in a planning document from Immigration and Customs Enforcement cited by the Washington Examiner.
“DHS is seeing an increase in irregular migrant flows to the southwest border of the United States, including greater numbers of family units and unaccompanied children,” the ICE document said. “The projected encounters for fiscal year (FY) 2021 are expected to be the highest number observed in over 20 years.”
When asked about his pledge to reunite migrant children separated from their parents and told by Melvin that, according to NBC’s reporting, so far no reunions had taken place, Biden said his administration was left in the dark.
“We don’t know yet where those kids are,” he said. “We’re trying like hell to figure out what happened. It’s almost like being a sleuth.”
Biden, who as a candidate promised to wipe away Trump-era restrictions at the border, said in the interview he urged parents in Central America not to send their children on a journey to the U.S.
Author: Jack Davis