For Courtney Weaver – El Financial Times
The Biden administration is struggling to cope with the increase in unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the southern US border; as the data confirms a sharp increase since Biden took office.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Wednesday that 100,441 people tried to cross the southern border in February – a 28 percent increase from January. The agency reported that 9,457 of those individuals were unaccompanied minors – a 62 percent increase over January.
At a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, Roberta Jacobson, coordinator for the Southwest border within the National Security Council (National Security Counsel), considered that no one, “especially children and families with young children, should attempt the dangerous journey required to enter the US irregularly.”
“The border is not open,” added Jacobson, a former US ambassador to Mexico.
The Biden administration is coping with the increase in attempted crossings as it aggressively seeks to reconfigure the former president’s zero-tolerance border strategy.
Although he has placed the blame for the current border crisis on the Trump White House, it has been difficult for him to deliver a promising message to migrants and simultaneously discourage them from crossing into the country outside the proper channels – something Jacobson admitted was like Try to “walk and chew gum at the same time.”
“We are trying to communicate to everyone in the region that we will have a legal process in the future that we will be announcing as soon as possible,” he said.
“But at the same time, they cannot enter irregularly. It is dangerous, and the vast majority of people will be removed from the United States because that is the truth of the case. We want to be honest with people. And therefore we try to convey both messages ”, he declared.
Jacobson also announced Wednesday that the Biden administration would seek legislative approval to dedicate $ 4 billion over the next four years to address the immigration crisis at the southern border.
It will also restart a program to help children arriving from Central America, which will make it possible to reunite with their parents in the US, if they legally reside in the country, minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Donald Trump had dismantled the program, which began during the Obama term.
About 3,000 children have already been approved for the program, according to Jacobson.
Republican lawmakers have criticized the Biden administration for not doing enough to ease the crisis.
Chip Roy, a Republican representative from Texas, accused the White House of being “perfectly content” with open borders.
“Border security is pro-immigrant, pro-America and pro our values. But the Biden administration doesn’t care about that, ”Roy told a news conference.
Across the hall, the White House has also encountered criticism from some Democrats who have argued that the administration does not invest enough resources in ensuring that minors are housed in child-friendly places and that they follow proper health guidelines. for the pandemic.
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