(Headline USA) President Joe Biden called the surge in immigration at the southern border a “crisis” for the first time Saturday after months of political maneuvering to avoid the term.
Whether the decision to call the nation’s immigration issues a crisis was an intentional change in messaging or a slip of the tongue remains unclear.
Illegal immigration has surged in recent months. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently announced they had encountered 172,000 people trying to cross north into the country in March. That was up from 101,000 the previous month.
Republicans have been blasted Biden for the surge of illegal immigration, and Democrats have attacked the president for maintaining some of the detention policies of his predecessor.
“The House is voting on immigration bills,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Are they leaping into action to repair the crisis? No — they’re taking up an amnesty plan that would create a special new pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants working in certain industries. So, to summarize: The administration can’t admit they’ve caused a crisis; they have yet to address the crisis; and House Democrats are backing policies that would only exacerbate the wrong incentive.”
“We’re going to increase the number [of refugees],” Biden told reporters. “The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number.
“We couldn’t do two things at once, but now we are going to increase the number,” he added.
Biden had previously said he would keep former President Donald Trump’s cap of 15,000 refugees in place.
“The admission of up to 15,000 refugees remains justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest,” read Biden’s executive order Friday.
But Biden changed course after major backlash from the left.
“While finalizing that determination, the President was urged to take immediate action to reverse the Trump policy that banned refugees from many key regions, to enable flights from those regions to begin within days; today’s order did that,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement about the reversal. “With that done, we expect the President to set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.”
After news Biden had walked back his previous announcement, the left celebrated.
This is a testament to the power that people’s movements, community advocates, & progressive coalitions have built.
Thankful for that and the Biden admin’s decision to respond to organizers today.
Now let’s get these families to their new homes here in the United States. ? https://t.co/uPpzVMpUS8
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 17, 2021
But Republicans are still calling on Biden to address the border crisis and the flow of illegal immigrants.
“Democrats are trying to shift blame but make no mistake – this is the #BidenBorderCrisis,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). “The facts back it up: illegal border crossings are up 173% from 1 year ago and 28% since January when President Biden stopped the wall & deportations and started catch & release.”