Biden Blames Republicans, Defends Illegal Immigrants In Speech Announcing Border Restrictions

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden delivered a speech Thursday in which he outlined the administration’s plans to fix the border crisis, blamed Republicans for the situation and announced plans to visit the border for the first time ever.

The administration’s new policy proposals on the border won’t “fix our entire immigration system,” but they will make it “better,” Biden said, faulting Republicans for not funding his border security package. He did not criticize illegal immigrants for crossing the border. Instead, he said Americans should “blame” people for trying to “flee oppression” and come to the “freest nation in the world.”

Biden also said he will visit the border in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday to meet with local officials.

There is no evidence that Biden has ever been to the border in his life, but former White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed in October that he drove by it in 2008.

The president told reporters after his speech that he had put off his border trip until he learned the fate of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that permitted authorities to expel migrants in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Biden administration tried to end the policy, but the Supreme Court intervened on Dec. 27 to keep Title 42 in place.

The White House announced increased border enforcement measures in a Thursday statement. Illegal immigrants who cannot be expelled under Title 42 “will be increasingly subject to expedited removal to their country of origin and subject to a five-year ban on reentry,” and the Department of Homeland Security will propose a regulation to encourage migrants to enter legally, the statement read.

The statement announced plans to limit the number of migrants coming from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to 30,000 a month. The policy is similar one already in place for Venezuelans.

Biden had a message for those migrants from those four countries. “Do not just show up to the border,” he said, adding that they should apply for asylum from their home countries.

The administration will also increase admissions from Latin American and Caribbean countries, launch a mobile app for prospective immigrants and give $23 million in additional assistance to Mexico and Central America, the statement read.

The White House blamed Republicans in Congress for stalling $3.5 billion in proposed border funding, saying that “until and unless Congress delivers the funding as well as comprehensive immigration reform measures President Biden requested, the United States’ broken immigration system will indeed remain broken.”

The Biden administration has overseen record-breaking numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border, and several U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have committed suicide in recent weeks.

The White House has labeled Republican officials’ border visits as mere “political stunts.” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to respond Tuesday when asked whether anyone in the administration thinks the border is “secure.”

Biden announced his plans to go to the border while speaking to reporters Wednesday. He said he had the “intention” to go, and was “working out the details.” The visit would come during the president’s trip to the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City, where he will meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (RELATED: Biden ‘Working On Details’ To Go To Southern Border)

Border Patrol agents are already preparing El Paso, Texas, to be ready for Biden’s visit, people familiar with the travel plans told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Biden To Visit El Paso As City Struggles With Migrant Crisis)

Border Patrol agents criticized Biden’s planned trip, telling the DCNF that they don’t expect his visit to be productive or expose him to the large nature of the crisis.

Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt of Missouri also slammed the president’s handling of the border.

“President Biden is finally heading to the border to see firsthand the crisis that his lax policies created, but we need real action to protect our communities,” he told the Daily Caller. “Because the Biden Administration has refused to enforce immigration laws and finish the border wall, illegal fentanyl continues to stream across a wide open southern border, and human traffickers and smugglers continue to profit off of the President’s inaction.”