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Biden vows to visit the border 'at some point'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 3/21/2021 Valerie Edwards For Dailymail.com and Reuters
a man wearing a suit and tie: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Donald Trump has slammed Joe Biden over the border wall crisis after the president blamed his predecessor and agreed to visit 'at some point' as overwhelmed agents of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have reportedly started releasing migrants into the US without court dates. 

In a statement, Trump said: 'We proudly handed the Biden Administration the most secure border in history.'

'All they had to do was keep this smooth-running system on autopilot. Instead, in the span of a just few weeks, the Biden Administration has turned a national triumph into a national disaster. They are in way over their heads and taking on water fast,' the statement reads. 

Trump's statement came after President Biden on Sunday addressed the issue as he returned to the White House from the Camp David presidential retreat and said he would visit the border region at some point, although he gave no specific timetable. 

When asked what more could be done to convince migrant families to stop coming across the border, Biden told reporters: 'A lot more, we are in the process of doing it now, including making sure we re-establish what existed before - which is they can stay in place and make their case from their home countries.' 

The number of unaccompanied migrant children in US custody surpassed 15,000 as of Saturday. Nearly 1,000 children have reportedly been held by agents for more than 10 days.   

Biden, who took office on January 20, has faced criticism from Republicans for reversing some of the hardline policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, which they argue has led to increased numbers of migrants arriving at the border.

Biden said during his campaign that he would implement 'more humane' border policies, which some have taken as a telegraph that it will be easier to cross. 

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Joe Biden (pictured) on Sunday said he planned to visit the US-Mexico border 'at some point' as his administration works to ensure potential migrants apply for asylum in their home countries

President Joe Biden (pictured) on Sunday said he planned to visit the US-Mexico border 'at some point' as his administration works to ensure potential migrants apply for asylum in their home countries
© Provided by Daily Mail

Images from migrant camps in Mexico show 'Biden' flags waving outside tents, illustrating the hopes they have for the new administration - and what critics say is loose policy that needs to be tightened up. 

He has claimed that Trump bears responsibility for the crush of people at the border because the former president dismantled much of the system that was in place to process asylum requests. Now because much of the apparatus to process asylum seekers has been done away with, there's a crush of people at the border and not enough infrastructure in place to process them, Biden's people contend.

But Trump and Republicans say the migrants are simply responding to what they expect to be a lighter touch of the Biden administration - and that Biden needs to finish the border wall and make it clear that people shouldn't try to come to the US illegally. 

Biden's administration is wrestling with a growing humanitarian crisis at the border, where the spike in the number of migrants fleeing violence, natural disasters and economic hardship in Central America is testing the Democratic president's commitment to a more humane immigration policy. 

The US government has also ramped up 'more aggressive' messaging - in English and Spanish - to persuade migrants to not to come to the United States.

US officials are struggling to house and process an increasing number of unaccompanied children, many of whom have been stuck in jail-like border stations for days while they await placement in government-run shelters.

Officials now plan to house some migrant families in hotels under a new program managed by nonprofit organizations, Reuters reported on Saturday, in a departure from the use of for-profit detention centers that have been criticized by Democrats and health experts.

Meanwhile, Fox News confirmed that the CBP in the Rio Grande Valley Sector has begun to process and release migrants who crossed the border illegally without first giving them a court date to reappear.

A senior CBP source told the network that Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector said the migrants are being released into the US without an official Notice to Appear, a process that normally takes hours for each individual or family.

The move means migrants who crossed the border illegally would be released from custody into the US - and it would place the responsibility of returning for an asylum hearing on the migrants themselves, through Immigration and Customs Enforcement or legal assistance.

According to Fox News, migrants are being registered into the system using biometrical data.

Migrants in the Rio Grande Valley Sector are being processed mostly at a temporary outdoor site. Border agents have emphasized that this does not apply to unaccompanied minors.  

a group of people sitting at a crowded beach: Meanwhile, Fox News confirmed that CBP in the Rio Grande Valley Sector have begun to process and release migrants who crossed the border illegally without first giving them a court date to reappear. An aerial view of a migrant camp outside El Chaparral crossing port

Meanwhile, Fox News confirmed that CBP in the Rio Grande Valley Sector have begun to process and release migrants who crossed the border illegally without first giving them a court date to reappear. An aerial view of a migrant camp outside El Chaparral crossing port
© Provided by Daily Mail

Also on Sunday, Biden's Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas sent a clear message to migrants, saying: 'The border is closed.'

'Our message has been straightforward and simple, and it's true – The border is closed. We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults,' Mayorkas told NBC's Meet the Press.

'I think we are executing on our plans and, quite frankly, when we are finished doing so, the American public will look back on this and say we secured our border and we upheld our values and our principles as a nation,' he added. 

Mayorkas also said during his interviews – while appearing on several networks Sunday – that the administration is committed to not turning away unaccompanied minors who arrive at the US border.

'We've made a decision that we will not expel young, vulnerable children,' Mayorkas told NBC host Chuck Todd.

His comments come as the number of unaccompanied migrant children in US custody has surpassed 15,000 as of Saturday.

Biden promised during his candidacy that all those seeking asylum in the US would be granted, which led to a surge of caravans heading from Central America to the US-Mexico border.

But Mayorkas deflected blame for the immigration crisis on Trump.

'Please remember something – that President Trump dismantled the orderly, humane and efficient way of allowing children to make their claims under United States law in their home countries,' Mayorkas said. 

In Trump's statement on Sunday, he also addressed Mayorkas. 

'The pathetic, clueless performance of Secretary Mayorkas on the Sunday Shows today was a national disgrace,' the statement reads. 

'His self-satisfied presentation – in the middle of the massive crisis he helped engineer – is yet more proof he is incapable of leading DHS. 

'Even someone of Mayorkas’ limited abilities should understand that if you provide Catch-and-Release to the world’s illegal aliens then the whole world will come.'

a waterfall with trees in the background: Asylum-seeking migrants from Central America walk on the banks of the Rio Grande river in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, while looking for a shallow crossing spot through the river into the US on Sunday © Provided by Daily Mail Asylum-seeking migrants from Central America walk on the banks of the Rio Grande river in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, while looking for a shallow crossing spot through the river into the US on Sunday a large building: The Cotton Logistics Man Camp where migrants are being held is lit up at night by generators as Homeland Security Police and American Red Cross employees monitor the grounds © Provided by Daily Mail The Cotton Logistics Man Camp where migrants are being held is lit up at night by generators as Homeland Security Police and American Red Cross employees monitor the grounds

There has even been debate in the Biden administration about whether to call the situation along the border a ‘crisis'.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week walked back an earlier comment of her own when she referred to a 'crisis' at the border. 

That is a word that Mayorkas pointedly would not use during his own turn at the White House podium. Instead, Mayorkas called it 'undoubtedly difficult' at a House hearing last week.

The head of the Border Patrol’s union last week said the situation definitely had reached ‘crisis’ levels.

Trump issued a statement on Sunday blasting Biden's policy shift. Trump also urged Biden to complete the border wall.

Among the changes Trump made: In 2018, Customs and Border Patrol officials started to limit the number of asylum seekers they processed each day, leading to pile ups on the Mexico side of the border, according to Vox.  

As part of the change, once asylum seekers reach an immigration official, they won't necessarily be allowed to enter the US.

That was because of Trump's 'Remain in Mexico' policy, which dictates that most migrants caught crossing illegally are sent back to Mexico without being processed in a CBP facility where it could be determined if the person was eligible for asylum.

The Trump administration also started the 'zero-tolerance' rule for illegal crossing policy, meaning huge backups when a border official decides to detain a migrant instead of sending them right back to Mexico.

During his administration, officials are said to have made seeking asylum more difficult, with US Attorney General Bill Barr making fewer people eligible to claim asylum because they're victims of gang violence, domestic abuse or are LGBTQ or persecuted by family members.

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