President Joe Biden has no plans to visit the Southern border as the U.S. struggles to deal with a potentially record-breaking surge in migration, he told reporters Tuesday.
Biden made the announcement in response to shouted questions to reporters Tuesday before embarking on his national tour to advertise the passage of his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The Biden administration ordered FEMA to support border security efforts last week as border crossings from unaccompanied children skyrocketed. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says the U.S. is on track to set a 20-year record for immigration in 2021. (RELATED: President Joe Biden’s Immigration Reforms Could Prompt A Surge Of Migrants At The Southern Border, Expert Says)
A reporter asked the president whether he had any plans to make a visit to the border, which many are calling a “crisis” but the administration is referring to as a “challenge.”
“Not at the moment,” the president responded.
Reporter: “Do you have any plans to travel to the southern border?”
President Biden: “Not at the moment.” pic.twitter.com/Sw5oIj5vKf
— The Hill (@thehill) March 16, 2021
“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Mayorkas said in a statement earlier Tuesday. “We are expelling most single adults and families. We are not expelling unaccompanied children.”
“Our goal is a safe, legal and orderly immigration system that is based on our bedrock priorities: to keep our borders secure, address the plight of children as the law requires, and enable families to be together,” he added.
The Biden administration has faced criticism for its handling of minors at the border, reopening facilities that were used to house children under former President Donald Trump. Mayorkas and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki have argued the reopenings are temporary and due in part to distancing requirements thanks to COVID-19.
Mayorkas also argues the new administration needs to time to rebuild the immigration system “from scratch” due to Trump’s “cruel” policies.
“The system was gutted, facilities were closed, and they cruelly expelled young children into the hands of traffickers,” he said Tuesday.