White House backtracks after Biden calls surge of migrant children a “crisis”

by Jenny Mount · Apr 20th, 2021 1:42 pm
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Last Updated Apr 22nd, 2021 at 12:16 pm

The White House is backtracking after President Joe Biden described the influx of migrant children on the southern border as a "crisis" over the weekend.

According to the White House, the term "crisis," which top administration officials have refused to say, does not represent the administration's official position.

Biden was asked by reporters on Saturday about the cap on refugees being admitted into the U.S. in the current fiscal year.

"We're gonna increase the numbers. The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people and we couldn't do two things at once. And now we're going to increase the numbers," responded Biden.

The White House tried to downplay Biden's words, claiming that he was referring to the conditions in Northern Triangle countries that migrants are coming from instead of the surge of migrant children in U.S. custody.

"No, there is no change in position. Children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is not a crisis," said a White House official.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed the sentiment at Monday's press briefing.

"The President does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crisis. He does feel that the crisis in Central America — the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from — that that is a situation we need to spend our time or effort on and we need to address it if we're going to prevent more of an influx of migrants from coming in years to come."

🔦 Biden's use of the word "crisis" to describe the situation at the border came after Psaki, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and senior administration overseeing the border Roberta Jacobson all declined to label it as such.


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