Amid migrant crisis, U.S. govt. pushes back

Amid migrant crisis, U.S. govt. pushes back

March 22, 2021 08:25 am | Updated 10:55 pm IST - Washington

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

“The border is closed”: With those words, a top Biden administration official pushed back on Sunday against fast-mounting criticism that it has bungled immigration policy, spurring an influx of migrants in the biggest crisis to emerge under the new President.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration’s message to would-be border-crossers was simple: “Now is not the time to come. Do not come. The journey is dangerous.

“We are building safe, orderly and humane ways to address the needs of vulnerable children,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

But with an estimated 15,000 migrant children or teenagers already in federal custody — roughly a third of them in facilities meant for adults — and with the United States on pace to see two million undocumented migrants arrive this year, the problem has become impossible to ignore.

Mr. Biden himself vowed on Sunday to visit the border and said he was stepping up the message to migrants to stay home.

“We’re in the process of doing it now, including making sure that we reestablish what existed before, which was — they can stay in place and make their case from their home country,” he told reporters.

Bipartisan criticism

Many Republicans, but also a growing number of Democrats, have criticised the administration’s border policies.

Mr. Mayorkas insisted that the administration was doing everything it could to address the influx, but said the task was complicated by policies inherited from Donald Trump’s administration.

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