Joe Biden’s administration downplayed the emergency triggered by a dramatic influx of migrant children and families to the border with Mexico as a ‘challenge’, not a crisis, while struggling to deal with overcrowding at border patrol facilities which were warned as “unsustainable”.
The Biden administration is reportedly considering sending migrant planes to states closer to neighboring Canada for treatment as an emergency measure amid a wave of attempted southern border crossings, reported The Washington Post.
The options were weighed after Friday morning at least 1,000 unaccompanied minors and family units cross the Rio Grande on their way to Texas, while 1,000 others were still awaiting treatment the night before, according to two security department officials. inner cities.
The outlet also cited an email suggesting that border officials requested air support from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to challenges posed by the extraordinary volume of unauthorized border crossings. in recent days, which have resulted in overwhelmed facilities in Texas.
Children and families were reportedly forced to wait outside for hours as the backlog was compounded by a record number of more than 4,500 unaccompanied minors held in holding cells and tent sites in borders.
The Biden administration used a pandemic health order dating from Trump’s White House tenure – Title 42 – to automatically deport anyone caught crossing the border illegally, applying it to adults and families, but not to unaccompanied children.
According to the quoted email, there is no indication whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has determined which northern and coastal states may receive the reported flights.
DHS internal communications seen by The Washington Post reportedly warned that overcrowding at border facilities had escalated into a life-and-death emergency.
The reported airlift initiative is not new, as at the height of the 2019 border push during then-President Donald Trump’s tenure, ICE Air flights were in use, albeit during the busiest months. hot, with migrants sent to different border sectors, depending on capacity. reports.
Recently, migrant families were airlifted on ICE planes from crowded facilities in the Rio Grande Valley to the El Paso region, the newspaper writes.
The head of the border patrol in the Rio Grande Valley, Brian Hastings, tweeted that more than 2,000 migrants were taken into custody on March 18, with 10,000 arrests and detentions in less than a week.
According to Hastings, more than 34,000 migrants have been welcomed in the specific area of the border this month so far – twice the data for all of January.
U.S. law enforcement met more than 100,000 migrants on the border with Mexico in February – the highest monthly total since the historic surge in mid-2019.
CBP said in a statement Friday that “there are currently no plans to transfer migrants from the southwest border to the northern or coastal borders.”
“A challenge, not a crisis”
The difficult border situation was described as being “under control” by Democratic leaders on Friday, during an inspection visit by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the southern border facilities.
“The Biden administration has this under control. It will take a little – it’s change and it will take time. But it is values-based, humanitarian in its aspects and pragmatic with a plan to get things done, ”said Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Speaker of the House of Commons. AP, as the Biden administration continued to downplay current developments as a “challenge” and not as a “crisis.”
However, critics criticized Mayorkas’ trip for being closed to the press, with a growing chorus of Republicans and Democrats warning the situation was getting out of hand.
Senators from the bipartisan delegation made up of members of the Internal Security Senate and the El Paso Government Affairs Committee reported with dismay what they observed as they accompanied Alejandro Mayorkas to the southern border.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Saw hundreds of children “crammed into large open rooms” and “held back their tears”.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.V.) denounced the miners spike “a tragedy”, writing on Twitter that “swift action” was needed. “Swift action must be taken NOW to end this humanitarian crisis,” she said on Twitter.
Take on the politics of the Trump era
It comes as the House of Representatives passed bills on March 18 to create an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States before January 1, 2021.
Some Republicans warn that this will result in a “return to radical leftist policies that will encourage illegal immigration and foster an endless influx of foreign nationals into the United States.”
In February, Joe Biden ended Donald Trump’s “stay in Mexico” policy, requiring asylum seekers to remain on native soil while US courts consider their claims.
After campaigning on a vow to overhaul his predecessor’s tough immigration program, Biden halted construction of Mexico’s border wall and issued an order upholding the deferred action program for child arrivals in 2012. The latter grants work permits and protection against deportation to those brought to the United States illegally as minors.
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