Mar 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden tells Central American migrants: "Don't come over"

President Biden outside of the White House on March 16.

President Biden outside of the White House on March 16. Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden during an interview with ABC News on Tuesday told people from Central America to stay in their "town or city or community" instead of coming to the United States, adding, "I can say quite clearly: Don't come over."

Why it matters: The Biden administration is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis at the southern border, with the country on-pace to encounter more people at the U.S.-Mexico border "than we have in the last 20 years," according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

What he's saying: Asked if his administration should have anticipated a surge of migrants attempting to cross into the U.S., Biden said: "First of all, there was a surge in the last two years," though he acknowledged that this one "could be" worse.

The big picture: The Biden administration reopened an overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas for unaccompanied migrant children and plans to use the downtown Dallas convention center to house up to 3,000 migrant teenagers, according to AP.

  • The president said he opposes reopening a controversial child migrant shelter in Florida that's been run by a for-profit company, people familiar with the matter told Axios.
  • Axios previously reported that Biden was briefed on the need for 20,000 additional beds to shelter the children expected to arrive at the border this year.

Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for refusing to call the surge a "crisis" and for ending Trump-era policies that they believe would have prevented the uptick in migrant children crossing the U.S. border.

Go deeper