CNN’s John Avlon said Wednesday that President Joe Biden “can’t afford to ignore” the problem at the U.S. southern border.
During his “Reality Check” segment on “New Day” Avlon discussed the changes in migration across the border since Biden took office in January, and noted the border “problem” is “a humanitarian crisis” that the president needs to address.
Avlon began by noting that “the politics of immigration panic are still very much with us,” stemming from resentment against Irish and Catholic immigration in the 19th century. He recalled the “migrant caravan” that marched towards the U.S. in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, but then “disappeared from the airwaves” after the election. He added that “Republicans are beating the border crisis drum again.”
“There is a spike of apprehensions at the southern border. Over 100,000 in February alone. That included nearly 9,600 kids, many unaccompanied by adults,” Avlon continued. “The recent rise began in the final months of Trump’s term, but it’s escalated since Biden took office. The border is not open, that’s false, but it is fair to say that Biden’s retraction of a Trump policy, which made people seeking asylum wait on the Mexican side of the border, has contributed to the rise.” (RELATED: Texas Democratic Rep. Avoids Answering Question On Biden Administration ‘Encouraging’ Migrants To Travel To US)
Avlon went on to say that this is not a redux of the Trump “kids in cages policy,” but it is “a humanitarian crisis” that FEMA has been dispatched to help with. He added that current levels of “undocumented” immigration lag behind a spike in 2019 which was “the highest in more than a decade.”
“But many of the migrants think that Biden’s less punitive approach means they’re welcome to cross the country illegally. They’re not. The Biden administration needs to make that clear,” Avlon said. “This is a political vulnerability. While Biden’s approval rating was 51% in a CNN poll last week, only 43% approve of his handling of immigration. Consider this, Donald Trump increased his vote total on the Texas/Mexico border against Biden in 2020, flipping eight Latino-heavy counties.”
He continued, saying that Republicans could work with the Biden administration on “a comprehensive immigration reform bill” if they “want to help solve this problem,” but that it would require sacrifices from both conservatives and progressives.
“Whether or not they want to call this a crisis, Biden has a practical problem brewing at the border. And he can’t afford to ignore it,” Avlon concluded. (RELATED: ‘Is It Now A Disaster?’: Fox’s Peter Doocy Presses Jen Psaki On FEMA’s Role At The Border)
The Biden administration has been reluctant to call the situation at the border “a crisis,” despite the increasingly large number of migrant children being held in migrant facilities, and the deployment of FEMA to assist in handling them. A number of media outlets have attributed the rise in the number of migrants being detained to Biden’s relaxed policies compared to the former President Donald Trump’s administration.