President Joe Biden said at CNN’s Thursday town hall that he guesses he should visit the southern border amid the ongoing crisis, but added that he hasn’t had the time.
A Republican law student pressed Biden about why he hasn’t visited the southern border and why he’s reverted to Trump-era policies after criticizing the former president’s “treatment of illegal immigrants.” The president began by noting that the Remain in Mexico policy – one of the Trump-era rules the administration is using – is being forced to stay because of a court ruling.
“We’re repealing it,” Biden said. “That’s one of the reasons why we haven’t changed it.”
Biden went on to say that his administration has decreased the number of children in custody of Border Patrol and promised that they’re “making more progress than you think.” Moderator Anderson Cooper interjected to point out that Biden has also kept Title 42, another Trump-era policy, in place. (RELATED: Migrants Illegally Crossing US-Mexico Border Thank Biden Administration)
Title 42 allows for the quick expulsion of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yes … we maintained that because of the extent of the — of the continued extent of COVID in those countries from which people are coming,” Biden explained. “It’s very, very high. And so we maintained the policy. We are not sending back children. We send back adults and we send back large families. But we don’t send back children in that circumstance.”
When asked whether he has plans to visit the southern border, Biden said he’s “been there before.”
“I know it well, I guess I should go down, but the whole point of it is I haven’t had a whole hell of a lot of time to get down,” the president said. “I’ve been spending time going around, looking at the $900 billion damage done by hurricanes and floods and weather and traveling around the world.”
Biden noted that his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, has been down and seen “both sides of the river.” He did not mention Vice President Kamala Harris’s trip to the southern border in June but continued on to argue his administration has improved conditions for migrants.
“There’s much more to be done,” Biden added.
In September, amid a massive wave of mostly Haitian migrants, the president admitted that the situation at the border was not under control, though he vowed to get it under control. The Biden administration has repeatedly blamed Trump for the situation at the border and has largely refused to declare it a crisis.