From the Washington Wire…
|Less than two months into office, President Joe Biden has a full-blown crisis on his hands. The flow of foreigners to the U.S.-Mexico border has exploded. In fact, in Biden’s first month, the number of people illegally coming into the country topped 6,000 per day — six times the “crisis” level set by Obama’s team. Some foreigners trying to illegally enter say Biden “promised” them they would be allowed to enter the country. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally acknowledged that “record numbers” of foreigners are overwhelming U.S. agencies and called in FEMA to help. On Capitol Hill, a Republican lawmaker claims some people who are on the FBI’s terrorist watch list are “starting to exploit the southern border.” But the White House refuses to call the situation a “crisis,” while Customs and Border Protection officials are reportedly under an unofficial “gag order,” barred from talking to the media. Here’s your latest installment of Washington Wire.
|1. Biden Border Crisis Explodes
|Shaw Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images Democrat President Joe Biden’s border crisis is rapidly spiraling out of control as new reporting on Tuesday indicated that the number of unaccompanied children being held in detention facilities is more than 300% higher than previously known.
CBS News host Norah O’Donnell noted that 13,000 unaccompanied minors are now in U.S. custody, which is significantly higher than the roughly 4,200 that were reported at the start of the week. They “are being held in U.S. custody for an average of 120 hours, far longer than the 72 hours allowed by law.” “Many of the children interviewed by … lawyers in recent days said they had not been allowed outdoors for days on end, confined to an overcrowded tent,” The New York Times reported.
In less than a month under Biden, “the number of people illegally coming into the country is more than 6,000 per day—that’s six times the crisis level as set by the Obama team,” James Jay Carafano wrote for the Heritage Foundation.
|2. Border Breakers Say Biden Promised Them
|Stringer/picture alliance via Getty Images Immigrants who are swarming to the U.S.-Mexico border say Biden “promised” them they would be allowed to enter the country.
“Biden promised us that everything was going to change,” Gladys Oneida Pérez Cruz, a woman who traveled to the border with her son, told The New York Times. “He hasn’t done it yet, but he is going to be a good president for migrants.” The Times said another woman in tears at the border said, “Biden promised us!” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) dubbed the situation the “Biden border crisis” and said some foreigners wore shirts saying “Biden, let us in.”
“Joe Biden and the Democrats … they don’t believe in borders,” said Cotton. “They don’t, therefore, think it is a crisis. They think this is a feature not a bug of their policy. They’ve literally turned detention centers — that are designed to turn people away at our borders — into reception centers. That’s what they’re gonna’ call them. What signal is that going to send? We’ve seen migrants wearing their shirts that say, ‘Biden, let us in.’”
|3. Homeland Security Finally Admits Crisis
|David McNew/Getty Images After weeks of claiming all is well at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acknowledged that “record numbers” of foreigners are overwhelming U.S. agencies, prompting the department to call in help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The federal government is responding to the arrival of record numbers of individuals, including unaccompanied children, at the southwest border. Since April 2020, the number of encounters at the border has been rising due to ongoing violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America,” DHS said.
“The federal government is working around the clock to move unaccompanied children from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) care and to place them with a family member or sponsor until their immigration case is adjudicated. The risks posed by the spread of COVID-19 have made this mission all the more difficult.”
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|4. Terror Suspects “Starting To Exploit Southern Border”
|Stringer/picture alliance via Getty Images A Republican lawmaker this week claimed some people who are on the FBI’s terrorist watch list are “starting to exploit the southern border.”
The U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks has been swarmed by foreigners seeking to get into the United States. In some of his first actions in office, Biden did away with the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which kept foreigners who tried to enter the U.S. illegally in Mexico to await hearings. Instead, Biden has returned to a “catch-and-release” policy in which illegal aliens are allowed to enter the U.S. and ordered to appear at hearings later, which historically many skip.
“Individuals that they have on the watch list for terrorism are now starting to exploit the southern border,” said Rep. John Katko (R-NY), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. “People who they’ve got in the last few days… have been on the terror watchlist,” Katko said during a press conference held at the border.”
“We need to wake up, we need to understand. Listen Mr. President Biden, you’re an OK guy,” Katko said. “Why don’t you just admit you made a mistake with this policy and go back to the way it was and keep America safe for all of us? And use that money that we’re wasting down here on American citizens. The door should not be open and we should have immigration the right way.”
|5. White House Still Won’t Say “Crisis”
|Samuel Corum/Getty Images White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border a “crisis on the border” during Thursday’s daily press briefing but later walked it back.
During an answer to a question about vaccines being gifted from the U.S. to Mexico, Psaki said there was a “request for them that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border.”
Then another reporter asked: “When you were talking, a moment ago, about diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Mexico, you said ‘crisis on the border.’ Is — was that a —”
Psaki interrupted: “Challenges on the border.“
“OK. But, so, that’s not — that doesn’t reflect any change in the administration’s … view of things?” said the reporter.
“No,” Psaki said. “Nope.”
|6. Gagged At The Border
|Drew Angerer/Getty Images Customs and Border Protection officials are reportedly under an unofficial “gag order” and barred from talking to the press amid the worsening situation at the border.
“Border Patrol officials have been told to deny all media requests for ‘ride-alongs’ with agents along the southern land border; local press officers are instructed to send all information queries, even from local media, to the press office in Washington for approval; and those responsible for cultivating data about the number of migrants in custody have been reminded not to share the information with anyone to prevent leaks, the officials said,” reported NBC.
Multiple news outlets have asked for access to border sites but have been denied. The new gag restrictions have not been detailed in an official memo but passed down through the ranks verbally, according to NBC.
|7. Meme Of The Week