The Biden administration dispatched a federal disaster agency to help deal with an increase in the number of migrant children arriving at the US border with Mexico, which has reignited a partisan immigration feud.
A growing number of people, including nearly 9,500 unaccompanied children, have arrived at the southwestern border of Mexico and Central American countries, surpassing the peak of April 2019 under the Donald Trump administration.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the weekend asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support a 90-day government effort “to safely receive, house and transfer unaccompanied children who are the dangerous journey ”.
“As I have said many times, a border patrol is not a place for a child,” Mayorkas said in a statement, adding that the border was closed. “It’s never safe to come to the United States by irregular routes, and this is especially true during a pandemic.”
The White House urged migrants to stay away from the border Even as the Biden administration seeks to reverse Trump-era policies and open up immigration, a position Republicans blame for kicking off the latest seasonal wave, in which thousands of children are held in shelters.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Wednesday 100,441 people attempted to enter along the southern border in February – a 28% increase from January. The agency said 9,457 of those were unaccompanied minors, a 62 percent increase from January.
Number of people attempting to enter the southern United States border in February
The Biden administration said the same day that it wanted to make migration processes “more humane and efficient.”
The measures include restarting a program canceled under the Trump administration to reunite Central American children with their parents in the United States, which stranded 3,000 children. He will also seek $ 4 billion in Congress over the next four years to tackle the root causes of the migration crisis, which he said included corruption, violence and climate change.
Democrat Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who represents Texas, was among those who accused Trump on Sunday of dismantling migrant infrastructure at the border, telling CNN the inhumane conditions at the border represented an “unacceptable” humanitarian crisis .
The Department of Homeland Security said the federal government is working to move unaccompanied children from the temporary supervision of U.S. border patrol officers to the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for placement in a family member or sponsor until they immigrate. the case has been decided.
Bill Cassidy, a Republican senator, was among conservatives who blamed the Biden administration’s policy change for encouraging migrants to rush to the border.
“Empirically, it is entirely [Biden’s responsibility]He told Fox News on Sunday. “You can’t help but notice that the administration is changing and there is a push.”
He also pointed to a quickly corrected blunder by Roberta Jacobson, the Biden team coordinator for the southern border, who said last week that the border was “ not closed ” at one point during a White House briefing in a Spanish segment before quickly correcting itself. in Spanish. She also said the border was closed in her remarks in English.
“I can tell you that the Spanish version is heard, not the English, and this is also reported in national newspapers,” Cassidy said.