President Joe Biden on Sunday (March 21) said he planned to visit the border with Mexico “at some point” and his administration was working to ensure that potential migrants applied for asylum in their home countries.
Asked what more could be done to convince migrant families to stop coming across the border, Biden told reporters: “A lot more, we are in the process of doing it now, including making sure we re-establish what existed before – which is they can stay in place and make their case from their home countries.”
The number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has climbed in recent weeks as Biden has rolled back some of the hard-line policies of former President Donald Trump, a Republican.
Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has faced criticism from Republicans for reversing those policies. At the same time, some Democrats opposed Biden’s administration reopening a Trump-era emergency shelter for children.
Biden officials have said migrant families will be “expelled” to Mexico or their home countries under a Trump-era health order known as Title 42. But more than half of the 19,000 family members caught at the border in February were not expelled, with many released into the United States.
The Biden administration has struggled to house a rising number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. There were more than 5,000 unaccompanied children in crowded border facilities as of Saturday, according to government data seen by Reuters.
The new family and child facilities are expected to ramp up bed capacity gradually, the people familiar with the effort said.
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)