President Joe Biden is arguing the current surge in immigrants coming to the southern border has nothing to do with him or his policies, and is instead just an annual occurrence.
During his first press conference since taking office, Biden denied that the perception of him being a “moral, decent man” is fueling the surge.
However, ABC News’ Cecilia Vega said on Thursday during coverage of his press conference that his policy of sheltering unaccompanied migrant children will encourage families to send their children to the border.
“[Biden] can blame President Trump. He can address these root causes. But the reality is they’re still allowing, as a policy, children to stay,” Vega said.
She continued, “And when you’re talking about families who are as desperate and in the most violent conditions — that it’s really unfathomable for us to imagine as Americans because it is so completely foreign to what we have in this country — that they are making this life or death decision to send their child north over keep their kids in their home country at the risk of death there.”
“There is almost nothing the president can say or do at this point that will counter that message. If the policy is they’re staying, that’s what families are going to see and hear,” she added.
“These families, many of them, are saying they are coming because they believe this is a more compassionate administration. And the president did not back away from that.”
Watch the video below:
.@CeciliaVega on her questions to Pres. Biden on migrant surge: Many families "are saying they are coming because they believe this is a more compassionate administration. And the president didn't back away from that. He said today: this is who we are." https://t.co/M0hpW1SeLt pic.twitter.com/1dKvjtCdbL— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 25, 2021
During his first press conference as president, Biden claimed the surge in immigration is a yearly event and is not related to his policies.
“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… 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,” he said.
He also noted during Biden’s press conference that migrants typically make the trek to the border during the winter months because it is “the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat in the desert.”
However, Vega said she spoke to the mother of a migrant child who traveled to the border who told her she “sent her son to this country because she believes that you are not deporting unaccompanied minors like her son.”
As the number of border crossing is expected to hit a 20 year high, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it is deporting “most single adults and families.”
However, it is “not expelling unaccompanied children.”
While DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says he wants to implement a “safe, legal and orderly immigration system that is based on our bedrock priorities” he has sought to discourage migrants from traveling to the border right now.
Biden has repeated that message. During an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, he said, “I can say quite clearly: Don’t come over… Don’t leave your town or city or community.”