President Biden will meet virtually with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday amid a migrant crisis on the southern border.
The Biden administration recently opened two overflow detention facilities for minors who arrive at the border without parents, as critics accuse Biden of creating “pull” factors for potential migrants in dismantling former President Donald Trump’s policies.
In his first month as president, Biden issued wide-ranging repeals of the prior administration’s immigration policies. He ended construction of Trump’s signature US-Mexico border wall and last month began to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which about 71,000 Central American asylum applicants were awaiting rulings in Mexico.
Biden also issued an order affirming the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives work permits and protection from deportation to people brought illegally to the US as minors, and proposed legislation that would create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US.
Trump on Sunday slammed Biden’s immigration policies in his first extended public remarks since leaving office, saying that “Joe Biden has triggered a massive flood of illegal immigration into our country the likes of which we have never seen before.”
Trump said, “They’re all coming because of promises and foolish words. Perhaps worst of all, Joe Biden’s decision to cancel border security has single handedly launched a youth migrant crisis that is enriching child smugglers, vicious criminal cartels and some of the most evil people on the planet.”
The White House is also facing criticism from progressive Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who say that Biden’s detention camps for young migrants are functionally similar to those denounced as putting “kids in cages” under Trump.
Biden administration officials pleaded with potential migrants not to rush the border, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of preparation for an influx.
In December, then-President-elect Biden said that he was concerned about abruptly relaxing Trump’s immigration policies because he feared that if he acted too quickly, he would trigger “2 million people on our border.”