President Biden may have quietly admitted Wednesday evening what he and the White House has refused to say publicly about the worsening situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Biden said Tuesday the border situation will be “chaotic for a while” as his administration works to restore order — but speaking with reporters the next day on the tarmac at the Westchester County Airport, Biden admitted there has been “chaos at the border for a number of years.”
“Well, we’ve had chaos at the border for a number of years,” the president said before boarding Air Force One in White Plains, New York. “We have to fully fund the border security effort.”
He added: “Look, the purpose of what we’re doing now is making legal immigration more streamlined, illegal immigration shorter term and moved — and moving in a direction that people know that there’s a legal way to get here and not legal way. That is what’s underway now.”
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Biden was sworn in as President in Jan. 2021. At the time, Democrats controlled Congress with a majority in the House of Representatives and a tie-breaking control of the U.S. Senate.
In the years since the Biden administration has refused to use funding already allocated to reinforce the border, sued Arizona to remove shipping containers that helped fill gaps in the U.S. Border Patrol Yuma Sector, ceased former President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, and ultimately failed to extend Title 42. The “Remain in Mexico” policy has since been reinstated.
On Wednesday evening, the president answered several questions by the group about the more than 10,000 migrants that are being detained at the border daily, the upcoming expiration of Title 42 — which is expected to cause additional migrants to seek entry into the U.S.
He was also asked about Mexico’s role in the ongoing crisis and whether he would consider sending additional U.S. troops to the border.
“I spent an hour with the President of Mexico yesterday. He’s been very cooperative,” Biden said.
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Biden also said he and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador were “in agreement” and that he was “also supportive of making sure we have way-stops in Colombia and other countries where people can make their case [for asylum].”
When asked if Biden would consider sending additional troops to the border, he simply answered: “Yes.”
The president did not specify how many more he would consider sending.
“The troops are there to free up the Border Patrol people to be able to do their job,” Biden remarked.
Biden also seemed to blame a divided Congress for not adequately addressing border security.
“Look, I asked the Congress for a lot more money for the Border Patrol. They didn’t do it. They’ve made it harder,” the president said.
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He added: “What we want to do at the border is have it work and function in the way it’s designed to work. And that requires us having more immigration officers, more asylum judges, a whole range of things [like] more personnel. And I’m trying to do as much of that as I can.”
House Republicans say the situation at the border rests solely on Biden as they have put forward the Secure the Border Act, which would renew efforts to build a border wall, add more border patrol agents and provide them more financial incentives for them to do their job.
It would also end “catch and release” policies.
During a Republican leadership press briefing this week, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said Republicans have not remained on the sideline in the crisis as Biden claims.
“Most of the problems we’re seeing at the border were created by Joe Biden himself, starting on his very first day in office as president when he sent a message throughout the world that America’s border is open by doing things like halting construction of the wall, reinstating catch and release, terminating the Remain in Mexico policy, the Northern Triangle agreements,” Scalise said.
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He continued: “And so as House Republicans, we said we’re not going to sit on the sidelines like President Biden is creating this problem. We’re going to actually work on solving this problem. And so tomorrow, the day that Title 42 expires, we’re going to bring H.R. 2, the Securing the Border Act, a bill that actually focuses on solving the problem, so we can get back to the rule of law and have a secure border in America, reestablish a legal path to come into this country.”
More than a dozen immigration groups have called the Secure the Border Act a “forceful and serious” attempt to counter mass migration at the border.
The president has threatened to veto it.
Once Title 42 expires, border officials have said they could see a surge of up to 14,000 encounters a day.
The more than 10,000 migrants apprehended on both Monday and Tuesday, were the highest single-day totals ever recorded, Customs and Border Protection sources told Fox News.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo and Bill Melugin contributed to this report.
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