Former President Donald Trump unloaded on his successor’s immigration policies Friday, saying President Biden has left a border “now totally out of control.”
In a searing statement, Mr. Trump said he’d left Mr. Biden “the most secure border in our country’s history,” and in little more than a month, he said, the new president has undone that work.
“There has never been a time on our southern border like what is happening now but more importantly, what is about to happen,” Mr. Trump said. “Now that Biden has implemented nationwide Catch-and-Release, illegal immigrants from every corner of the Earth will descend upon our border and never be returned. You can never have a secure border unless people who cross illegally are promptly removed.”
In fact, the numbers are not yet at the level they were under Mr. Trump in late spring of 2019, when a record number of illegal immigrant families stormed the border.
But if the trends from January and February continue, the U.S. would surpass those records later this year.
On immigration, more than any other issue, Mr. Biden took office planning a clean break with the Trump team.
He reversed stiff asylum and border policies and canceled cooperation agreements with Central American countries. Mexico has also limited its cooperation in taking back some migrants, forcing the Biden team to quickly release people into the interior of the U.S.
Mr. Trump pointed to those changes as part of what’s invited the new surge of migrants.
“A mass incursion into the country by people who should not be here is happening on an hourly basis, getting worse by the minute. Many have criminal records, and many others have and are spreading COVID,” the former president said.
The White House said Mr. Biden has asked “senior members of his team” to make a visit to the border and report back on what’s going on.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said they wouldn’t reveal the members, date or time of the trip because of privacy reasons, but would give details after it happens.
Ms. Psaki also said they aren’t surprised that Mr. Biden‘s changes in policies, including no longer blocking illegal immigrant juveniles who show up without parents from entering, led to a surge of migrant children.
“Obviously we’re going to have more kids in the country since we’ve been letting unaccompanied minors stay and the last administration immorally kicked them out,” the spokeswoman said.
She also flatly rejected Mr. Trump‘s advice, saying his policy was “not only inhumane but ineffective.”
The border surge crosses all demographics, but one worrying trend is the rise in those juveniles.
Under the Trump administration those children were blocked from entering under a coronavirus emergency rule. The Biden administration said it would allow the children to enter, and the numbers have since surged.
Ms. Psaki said there is no thought of revisiting that policy inside the new administration, and told reporters to consider the issue “as human beings, and as mothers.”
“These kids are coming,” she said. “All we’re talking about here is ensuring they are treated safely, they are not trafficked, they are not sent back on an unsafe journey.”
She predicted “many of them” would eventually be deported.
In fact, few are.
According to Homeland Security data released in January, of the unaccompanied juveniles who were part of the 2014 border surge, just 3% of them had been deported as of 2017.