WORLD / AMERICAS
GOP slams Biden border policy
POTUS inherits dismantled, unworkable system: WH
Published: Mar 16, 2021 06:13 PM
Photo taken in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, on Feb 19, 2021 shows a screen displaying U.S. President Joe Biden speaking in Washington, D.C. during a virtual event with the Munich Security Conference in a video provided by the U.S. State Department. Biden said on Friday that the United States is returning to the transatlantic partnership and will address global challenges like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, on Feb 19, 2021 shows a screen displaying U.S. President Joe Biden speaking in Washington, D.C. during a virtual event with the Munich Security Conference in a video provided by the U.S. State Department. Biden said on Friday that the United States is returning to the transatlantic partnership and will address global challenges like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.Photo:Xinhua

US President Joe Biden faced mounting pressure Monday from Republicans over his handling of a surge in migrants - including thousands of unaccompanied children - arriving at the US-Mexican border.

While successive administrations have dealt with seasonal spikes in migration, Biden's critics claim he has driven the latest uptick by taking a softer stance on the flashpoint issue than his predecessor Donald Trump.

On January 20, his first day in office, Biden scrapped several of Trump's contentious immigration policies, including halting new construction of a border wall and proposing legislation to create a citizenship pathway for the nearly 11 million people living illegally in the US.

Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy of California, who leads his party in the House of Representatives, described Biden's policies as having created "more than a crisis."

"You can continue to deny it but the only way to solve it is to first admit what he has done, and if he will not reverse action, it takes Congressional action to do it," McCarthy told a press conference on the border in the Texas town of El Paso.

Republican congressman Chuck Fleischmann said Biden's administration had "created an environment" that caused an increase in migration. Other Republican lawmakers said human traffickers were profiting from Biden's policies.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden had inherited "a dismantled and unworkable system" from Trump. 

"Like any other problem, we're going to do everything we can to solve it," she said.

At a bus terminal in the border town of Brownsville late Sunday, a Guatemalan woman told AFP she had crossed the border illegally after her husband, who is already in the US, told her things may be simpler under Biden.

"My husband told me to come at this time," said Rubia Tabora, a 25-year-old mother of one.

In February, the US Customs and Border Protection agency arrested about 100,000 people at the southern border, a 28 percent jump over January.

In line with a pandemic-rooted policy adopted by Trump, who cracked down on immigration both legal and illegal as part of his "America First" doctrine, the Biden administration is deporting most of the undocumented people who arrive at the southern border.

But unlike Trump, Biden has opted against expelling minors who show up unaccompanied and are filling shelters set up to hold them, with limited capacity because of the coronavirus crisis.

AFP
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