House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday acknowledged the crisis surrounding the surge of children crossing the southern border — but blamed it on the Biden administration inheriting a “broken system” from former President Donald Trump.
“The facts are these: there are more children. About 600, 700 more children, unaccompanied children, coming over the border. This is a humanitarian challenge to all of us,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on ABC News’ “This Week.”
“What the administration has inherited is a broken system at the border, and they are working to correct that in the children’s interest,” she said.
But Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said blame for the crisis at the border rests solely in President Biden’s lap and said the president’s policies are inviting migrants to make the dangerous trek to the US.
“When people think they can get in, they begin sending their unaccompanied child across Mexico, where she may be kidnapped and trafficked,” Cassidy said, alleging that immigration officials told migrants in Spanish that the border was “open.”
“There can be no equivocations when it comes to someone who is thinking of joining a caravan,” he added.
More than 29,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the border in February, according to figures from US Customs and Border Protection, and the numbers of people apprehended at the Mexican border totaled more than 100,000 last month — a 28 percent increase from January.
The one-month total of children arriving at the border is nearly as high as the number of kids for all of last year.
The stream of migrants coming to the border has overwhelmed federal immigration authorities so much that Biden authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “help receive, shelter and transport the children” over the next 90 days.
Pelosi praised the move to involve FEMA.
“I’m so pleased that the president, as a temporary measure, has sent FEMA to the border in order to help facilitate the children going from one — the 72-hour issue into where they are cared for as they are transferred into family homes or homes that are safe for them to be,” she said.
“So this, again, is a transition for what was wrong before to what is right,” Pelosi added.
Biden has been criticized by Republicans for rolling back many of Trump’s immigration regulations including the “Remain in Mexico” policy that required Central American asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while US courts reviewed their claims.