President Joe Biden made false claims about his border crisis during Thursday’s press conference while also snarking that he “should be flattered” that massive waves of people are illegally flooding the U.S. southern border “because they know Biden’s a good guy.”
Biden’s remark came after left-wing PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor claimed the surge in illegal immigration was due to “the perception of [Biden] that got [him] elected as a moral, decent man.”
“Well, look, I guess I should be flattered people are coming because I’m the nice guy,” Biden responded. “That’s the reason why it’s happening, that I’m a decent man or however it’s phrased, that that’s why they’re coming, because they know Biden’s a good guy.”
Biden tried to sound tough, claiming, “We’re sending back the vast majority of the families that are coming. We’re trying to work out now with Mexico their willingness to take more of those families back. That’s what’s happening. They’re not getting across the border.”
Even CNN fact-checked this claim, saying that it was “not true.”
“And I’d like to think it’s because I’m a nice guy, but it’s not,” Biden said. “It’s because of what’s happened every year.”
However, The Washington Post highlighted the changes that Biden made when he came into office and how that impacted the situation on the border:
The warnings began before Biden even took office. During the transition period, career officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection tried to issue sober alarms to the Biden team about the likelihood of a crisis at the border that could quickly overwhelm the nation’s capacity. Senior CBP officials delivered Zoom briefings to the Biden transition team that included modeling projections showing a steep increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors if Trump’s policies were suddenly lifted, according to one current and two former Department of Homeland Security officials. …
Biden transition officials understood the risks, as well, identifying a surge of unaccompanied minors and a dearth of shelter space exacerbated by the pandemic as the most pressing problems.
Yet Biden immediately embarked on an aggressive strategy to roll back Trump administration policies. On his first day, Biden suspended border wall construction, affirmed protections for young immigrant “dreamers,” scrapped Trump’s ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, and ordered a 100-day moratorium on deportations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He also sent a broad immigration overhaul proposal to Congress, including an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status.
More moves followed in rapid-fire succession. The president ordered a major increase in refugee admissions. He launched a task force to reunify families separated by Trump’s “zero tolerance” crackdown while easing restrictions for minors under Title 42. And he ended the “Remain in Mexico” program Trump had used to send asylum seekers back across the border to wait outside U.S. territory for their cases to be decided — allowing hundreds of families crowded into squalid camps to enter the United States, producing emotional scenes that circulated widely in Spanish-language media.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS: Thanks so much, Mr. President. You’ve said over and over again that immigrants shouldn’t come to this country right now. This isn’t the time to come. That message is not being received. Instead, the perception of you that got you elected as a moral decent man is the reason why a lot of immigrants are coming to this country and entrusting you with unaccompanied minors. How do you resolve that tension and how are you choosing which families can stay and which can go given the fact that even though with Title 42 there are some families that are staying? And is there a timeline for when we won’t be seeing these overcrowded facilities run by CPB when it comes to unaccompanied minors?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT: Well, look, I guess I should be flattered people are coming because I’m the nice guy. That’s the reason why it’s happening, that I’m a decent man or however it’s phrased, that that’s why they’re coming, because they know Biden’s a good guy. Truth of the matter is, nothing has changed. As many people came, 28% increase in children to the border in my administration, 31% in the last year, in 2019, before the pandemic in the Trump administration. It happens every single solitary year. There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year. In addition to that, there is a — and by the way, does anybody suggest that there was a 31% increase under Trump because he was a nice guy and he was doing good things at the border? That’s not the reason they’re coming.
The reason they’re coming is that it’s the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat and the desert, number one. Number two, they’re coming because of the circumstances in country, in country. The way to deal with this problem, and I started to deal with it back when I was Vice President putting together a bipartisan plan of over $700 million to do the root causes of why people are leaving. What did Trump do? He eliminated that funding. He didn’t use it. He didn’t do it. And in addition to that, what he did, he dismantled all the elements that exist to deal with what had been a problem, and has been continued to be a problem for a long time. He, in fact, shut down the number of beds available. He did not fund HHS to get people to get the children out of those Border Patrol facilities, where they should not be, and not supposed to be more than a few days, a little while.
But he dismantled all of that, and so what we’re doing now is attempting to rebuild, rebuild the system that can accommodate what is happening today. And I’d like to think it’s because I’m a nice guy, but it’s not. It’s because of what’s happened every year. Let me say one other thing on this. If you take a look at the number of people are coming, the vast majority, the overwhelming majority of people coming to the border and crossing are being sent back, are being sent back. Thousands, tens of thousands of people who are over 18 years of age and single people, one at a time coming, have been sent back, sent home. We’re sending back the vast majority of the families that are coming. We’re trying to work out now with Mexico their willingness to take more of those families back. That’s what’s happening. They’re not getting across the border. And those who are coming across the border who are unaccompanied children, we’re moving rapidly to try to put in place what was dismantled, as I said.
For example, of all the children who are coming across the border, over 70% are either 16 or 17 years old. We’re not talking about people ripping babies from mothers arms or a little three-year old standing on the border, less than I think it’s one and a half percent fall in the category of the very young. So what we’re doing is we’re providing for the space again to be able to get these kids out of the border patrol facilities, which no child, no one should be in any longer than 72 hours. And today I went to, for example, I used all the resources available to me, went to the Defense Department and the Secretary of Defense has just made available Fort Bliss, 5,000 beds. Be immediately available, 5,000 beds on the Texas border.
So we’re building back up the capacity that should have been maintained and built upon that Trump dismantled. It’s going to take time. And the other thing we’re doing, I might add — am I giving you too long an answer? Because if you don’t want the detail. No, no, but I mean, I don’t know how much detail you want about immigration. Maybe I’ll stop there.
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