White House press secretary Jen Psaki blamed former President Donald Trump’s administration for the influx of migrants America is currently seeing during Tuesday’s press briefing.
Psaki opened the briefing by giving an update on the crisis at the southern border. She told reporters that President Joe Biden “is taking the challenge head on” by “building a fair, orderly and humane immigration system” and blamed the current “situation” on Trump’s “destructive” policies.
“After four years of an immigration system rooted in destructive and chaotic policies, President Biden is taking the challenge head on and is building a fair, orderly and humane immigration system,” Psaki said. “That’s our objective. After coming into office, our administration immediately jumped into action to address the influx of migrants at the border – something that began during and was exacerbated by the Trump administration.”
“And wanted to provide a couple of data, pieces of data you may have seen, but they’ve come out since the last time we had a briefing in here,” she continued.
Psaki noted that as of the end of March, there were over 5,000 children being kept in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “patrol stations.” She said that number is currently sitting around 600 children and also touted a decrease in the time minors are spending in CBP facilities.
While less children are being housed in CBP facilities, more have been transferred to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities, according to April 29 data from the agency. The number of unaccompanied minors in these facilities increased 89.9% in one month while minors held by the CBP decreased by 83.4%. (RELATED: Number Of Migrant Children Detained In HHS Facilities Nearly Doubled In April)
There are still hundreds of migrant children crossing the border every day. While the number in Border Patrol custody is decreasing, the number in HHS/ORR custody is now up to nearly 22,000. pic.twitter.com/Yn7bids5MN
— amna (@IAmAmnaNawaz) April 26, 2021
“Just yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will begin the process of reuniting a number of families who were separated by the policies of the previous administration. Clearly, we’re not done,” Psaki added. “There’s a lot of work ahead. Migration is a dynamic and evolving challenge, but the president has a plan and we’re working on implementing it.”
Biden launched a task force in February through an executive order aimed at addressing “the prior administration’s cruel separation of children from their parents,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas noted in May.
Biden, along with media outlets like The Washington Post, previously claimed the border surge was seasonal. Data from March gave a different story as 172,331 individuals were encountered at the southern border, according to the CBP.
This is the most in almost two decades, The Post’s Nick Miroff pointed out at the time. (RELATED: Washington Post, Biden Claimed Early On The Migrant ‘Surge’ Was Just Seasonal. The Numbers For March Are Anything But Seasonal)
The Biden administration has resisted referring to the “situation” at the border as a crisis. After the president referred to is as such in April, the administration quickly walked back his comments and declared there is “no change in position.”