President Joe Biden faces increasing pressure from both major parties to solve the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Progressives have complained about how long it is taking Biden to undo the policies of former President Donald Trump, per Politico.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., told Playbook during the weekend she’ll lead an effort to force the administration to stop housing migrants in local prison and jail facilities, where there have been accusations of misconduct, abuse, and medical neglect.
The Biden administration Saturday announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be deployed to assist unaccompanied migrant children in being placed at Department of Homeland Security facilities.
Republicans also have criticized the president for promoting a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. That proposal has resulted in a mass influx of people to the southern border.
Customs and Border Protection reported 100,000 border apprehensions in February, an increase from 78,000 in January, according to the Washington Examiner.
CBS News reported U.S. Border Patrol was holding more than 4,200 unaccompanied migrant children in short-term holding facilities as of Sunday morning.
While campaigning last year, Biden often referred to “kids in cages” as a result of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other members of the GOP caucus were in El Paso, Texas, Monday to focus attention on the border, where children were being detained in jail cells.
The Republican National Committee released a statement saying Biden was promoting “open borders and closed schools,” the latter in reference to the president’s COVID-19 policies, per the Examiner.
“Joe Biden’s policies are creating a crisis at the border,” RNC rapid response director Tommy Pigott said. “Far from reversing these policies, however, Biden is refusing to even recognize a crisis exists. It is a complete failure of leadership, and America’s border communities are paying the price.”
Republicans and some moderate Democrats, including Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, were calling on Biden to tell migrants they would face potentially severe consequences if they arrived at the border.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sad Biden’s “sweeping left-wing amnesty plan” has caused the border crisis.
“Republicans just spent four years making major headway on the security and humanitarian crises on our border,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, wrote a letter to Biden and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to blame the administration’s policies for the crisis.
“Recently, there has been a surge of illegal migration on the southern border,” Hawley said. “This new crisis follows a series of actions by the Biden administration, such as steps to reverse the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, an attempt to halt deportations, a suspension of border wall construction, and support for amnesty legislation.”
Progressives, however, want the president to embrace migrants fleeing hardship in their native countries.
Biden’s proposal does not contain as many concessions to border security as previous bipartisan bills, including when he was vice president under former President Barack Obama.
Many migrants likely believed Biden’s policies would make it easier to enter and remain in the U.S. due to the easing some of the immigration controls imposed by Trump, and the backing of a deportations pause.
Omar, who immigrated from Somalia as a young girl, has said her experience included suffering under a hot sun, and being hungry not knowing when she’d receive food or water.
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