Pelosi Rips Trump for Escalating Refugee Crisis at US Border under Biden
By Staff, Agencies
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blamed former president Donald Trump for a refugee crisis and “humanitarian crisis” at the border with Mexico, saying Trump handed his successor Joe Biden a “broken system.”
Pelosi said in an interview on Sunday that, “What the [Biden] administration has inherited is a broken system at the border, and they are working to correct that in the children's interest.” She added, "This is a humanitarian challenge to all of us."
She told reporters after the interview that, “this is a humanitarian crisis,” a label the Biden administration has avoided using.
More than 3,600 migrant children, up from around 800 in Feb., are held in the “facilities” as of Thursday, US officials said.
Biden vowed to undo many of the immigration policies of Trump when he assumed office on Jan. 20.
He ordered the reunification of migrant children with their families, halted construction of the border wall and called for reviews of legal immigration programs terminated by Trump.
The rolling back of Trump’s immigration policies stoked illegal immigration from Central and Southern America, with large numbers of asylum seeking unaccompanied children massing on the US border from Mexico.
The Biden administration has been sharply criticized by both fellow Democrats and Republicans for the handling of the refugee crisis at the southern border.
Republicans have ripped the president for rolling back Trump’s hardline policies, saying his administration has encouraged illegal immigration into the US.
Democrats criticized Biden for using notorious Trump-era detainment facilities in Texas to house migrant children. Democrats had used the issue of detainment facilities to accuse Trump of putting “kids in cages.”
After the government reopened child detention facilities that Democrats had decried as “human rights abuse” when they were deployed by Trump, White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed last month, “This is not kids being kept in cages. This is a facility that was opened that's going to follow the same standards of other HHS [US Department of Health and Human Services] facilities.”
Pelosi also claimed on Sunday the current struggle reflects “a transition from what was wrong before to what is right.”
Washington also must address corruption and violence in Central America and Mexico, as well as climate change, to deal with the reasons that people are fleeing to the US, she added.
“There are many reasons that go into this, but the fact is, we have to deal with it at the border,” she said.
The number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border spiked after Biden took office on January 20, rising above 300 a day last month.
Mexico also blasted Biden for setting off illegal immigration by reversing Trump’s policies, saying the US president has created business for organized Mexican criminal groups.
“They see him as the migrant president, and so many feel they’re going to reach the United States,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said of Biden.
Mexican officials said Biden's new immigration policy turned people into a "commodity" for human trafficking gangs.
President Biden has also been accused by his predecessor of inspiring a "spiraling tsunami" at the southern US border.
“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,” Trump said last week.
“Interior enforcement has been shut down — criminals that were once promptly removed by our Administration are now being released back onto the street to commit heinous and violent crimes,” the former US president added.
Trump said the Biden administration has “given the smugglers and traffickers effective control of our border,” noting that the US border crisis would get worse.
President Biden on Saturday enlisted the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] to help accommodate the surge in unaccompanied minors arriving at the border.
The dispatch of the US emergency agency that usually responds to floods, storms and other major disasters indicates the scope of the growing humanitarian and political crisis for the Biden administration.
The US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he would deploy the FEMA “to help receive, shelter and transport the children” over the next 90 days.
The dramatic increase in migrant children arriving without parents or legal guardians has exceeded shelter capacity, which was previously reduced by 40% to limit the spread of the coronavirus.