White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Sunday that President Biden is not to blame for an increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border.
“People who send their children here unaccompanied, children as young as 6, 7 years old who come here without any adult sent on a dangerous journey – I do not think it’s because of a speech Joe Biden gave,” Klain told “Face the Nation.” “I think it’s because of terrible conditions in El Salvador and Guatemala and Honduras.”
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“We are working hard to get these children reunited with family members here in the United States,”
Earlier this month, customs and border protection expected as many as 184,000 unaccompanied children to reach the border in fiscal year 2021.
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The Biden administration reportedly spends at least $ 60 million a week to house the more than 16,000 migrant minors in its care. This funding, amounting to $ 3.1 billion a year, is used to care for children in facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after being transferred from the Border Patrol. These costs are expected to rise dramatically in the coming months, according to a Washington Post analysis.
In a recent interview, Biden claimed that his administration has “now gained control” over the high number of migrants rising at the southern border – while again blaming the Trump administration for the crisis that has overwhelmed officials in recent months.
“It’s getting quick action now,” Biden said in an interview with NBC News. “For example, a month ago, we had thousands of young children in custody in the places they should not be and controlled by the border patrol. We have now cut that down dramatically.”
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Critics have slammed Biden for his handling of immigration in the early days of his administration, pointing to movements that narrowed internal enforcement and cut Trump-era border controls, which they say increased the pull factors that drew migrants north.
Biden has completed the construction of the southern border wall, completed migration protection protocols and limited immigration and customs enforcement priorities, while paying for travel expenses for immigrants and releasing some family units in the interior of the United States.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Morgan Phillips and Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.