Originally Published in The Hill
Alex Gangitano - April 30, 2021
President Biden in an interview that aired Friday said his administration has “gotten control” of the situation at the southern border when he was pressed about the surge of migrants and unaccompanied children coming to the U.S.
“It’s way down now; we’ve now gotten control,” Biden told NBC's Craig Melvin in an interview that aired on "Today."
Melvin noted that in April, 170,000 migrants came to the border, which is a 20-year record, and that 22,000 unaccompanied children are currently in the U.S.
“They didn’t plan for, which comes every year, this flow, whether it's 22,000 or 10,000,” Biden said. “They didn’t have the beds that were available, they didn’t plan for the overflow. They didn’t plan for the Department of Health and Human Services to have places to take the kid from the border patrol and put them in beds where there’s security and there were people that could take care of them.”
“There’s a significant change right now, significant change in the circumstance for children coming to and at the border,” he added.
“The failure to have a real transition, the two departments that didn’t give us access to virtually anything were immigration and the Defense Department. So we didn’t find out they have fired a whole lot of people; they were understaffed considerably,” he said.
Melvin mentioned that Biden laid out four crises when took office including the pandemic, economy, climate change, and racial inequality. He noted that immigration was not one of the crises and asked the president if it demands urgent action now and if he would now call what is happening at the border a crisis.
“It is getting urgent action now,“ Biden said. “A month ago, we have thousands of young kids in custody in places they shouldn't be controlled by the border patrol. We have now cut that down dramatically.”
Biden pledged to unite children with families at the border and pushed back on reports that no children have been reunited.
“I don’t think that's true, but that could be,” Biden said. “But we have done is we have united children with their families as they come across the border. We don’t know yet where those kids are, we’re trying like hell to figure out what’s happened.”
The president said he would “absolutely” tell parents in Central America and Mexico not to send their children to the U.S.
“Do not send your kids, period,” Biden said. “They’re in jeopardy making that thousand-mile trek. So, what we’re doing now is we’re going back to those countries in question, where most of it's coming from, and saying look, you can apply from your country, you don’t have to make this trek.”