Biden Claims Migrant Surge “Under Control” Amid 22,000 Child in Custody

"Joe Biden" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

During an interview this week, Biden claimed that his administration has now “gotten control” of the massive surge of migrants at the southern border, amid 22,000 child migrants that still remain in custody of the Health and Human Services. 

In an interview with NBC News, Biden said, “It is getting urgent action now.” He added, “For example, a month ago, we had thousands of young kids, in custody in places they shouldn’t be and controlled by the Border Patrol. We have now cut that down dramatically.”

Although the number of unaccompanied child migrants in the custody of the Border Patrol has decreased rapidly in recent weeks from thousands to hundreds, there are still over 22,000 unaccompanied children in the custody of the Health and Human Services, with very little hope of them being returned to their home countries. 

Although the number of encounters dropped from thousands to hundreds, in the month of April, it still appears as sky-high as the previous month, even as they appear to be leveling off.

“Well, look. It’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control,” Biden said when pressed on the number of children in custody. 

Meanwhile, critics have hammered the Biden administration for how they handled the immigration crisis in the early days of his administration, referring to moves that narrowed interior enforcement and severed Trump-era border policies, which they believe increased the pull factors that drew migrants north. 

In addition to this, Biden has also ended the construction of the wall at the southern border, ended the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and limited Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement priorities, while paying for migrant travel costs and releasing some family units into the interior of the U.S.

However, Biden administration states that the “root causes” were in Central America and still puts the blame on the Trump administration for not preparing what Biden has labeled as a “seasonal surge in numbers.”

Biden said, “[The Trump administration] didn’t plan for, which comes every year, this flow, whether it’s 22,000 or 10,000.” HE added, “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 kids from the Border Patrol and put them in beds where there’s security and there were people that could take care of them.”

Biden also mentioned that there his administration is conducting a strong effort to reunite unaccompanied children who may have been separated under the previous Trump adminsitration. “We’re trying like hell to figure out what happened — it’s almost like being a sleuth,” Biden said. 

Biden added taht the message to migrant parents is still not to send their children at the border, despite the administration’s policies of not sending unaccompanied children back to their country and continuously paying for migrant kids to be transported into their sponsors and parents all across the country. Biden also says that soon they will be able to apply for asylum from their home countries.

“Do not send your kids, period,” he said. “They’re in jeopardy making that thousand-mile trek. And 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.’”