Border Crisis Creeping Into Front Page News
The constant problem of the US Southern border crisis has bloomed into mounting news items, as the Biden Administration faces a skyrocketing numbers of illegal crossings and unaccompanied minors:
Nearly two months into his first term, Biden faces a growing political threat from the upheaval at the border and is drawing criticism from across the spectrum. Centrist Democrats are nervous about attacks casting them as soft on border security. Liberals and immigration activists are sounding alarms about how migrants are treated. And Republicans are increasingly laying the groundwork for immigration-centric attacks in the midterm elections.
“The Republicans will turn around and use this for a political weapon against Democrats — that we’re weak on the border, we’re not doing enough, we’re letting everybody in,” Cuellar said in an interview. “I’ve been warning the party and the administration: Don’t let this get out of hand, because all you’re going to do is you’re going to give Republicans an issue.”
Border arrests and detentions during the final months of the Trump presidency rose to some of the highest levels in a decade, but illegal crossings have skyrocketed since Biden took office. In February, detentions topped 100,000, a 28 percent increase from the previous month, and March is on pace for an even larger surge, with more than 4,000 border apprehensions each day, according to the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures.
“We recognize this as a problem. We’re focused on addressing it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday. The Trump administration, she said, “left us a dismantled and unworkable system.”
It’s not clear voters will see it that way. Trump demonstrated that immigration can be an explosive issue that upends the political landscape, suggesting it could be a real threat to a president who is otherwise coasting on high approval ratings.
And the dilemma is greater because so many crossing the border are minors.
Biden pledged to reverse Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, and smuggling organizations have capitalized on that in their marketing efforts. Biden officials have attempted to counter smugglers’ claims with statements from the White House insisting the border is closed and that anyone crossing it will not be allowed in — but those statements don’t entirely reflect the reality.