Biden calls border situation normal: "It happens every single solitary year"
President Biden on Thursday during his first presidential press briefing argued that the uptick in migrants arriving at America's southern border is cyclical, saying, "It happens every single solitary year."
What he's saying: Biden contended that the cooler winter months provide conditions for migrants to flee their home countries. But data shows that immigration numbers are higher than usual, and unaccompanied minors are arriving at rates that outpace border facilities' resources.
"The reason they're coming is that it's the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat in the desert, number one," Biden said.
- "Number two, they're coming because of the circumstances in country, in country."
- He said that immigration agencies are "building back up the capacity that should have been maintained and built upon that Trump dismantled," stressing: "It's going to take time."
- Asked if his messaging is encouraging families to send unaccompanied children to the border, Biden said he is not going to let kids "starve to death" and "stay on the other side."
- "Rolling back the policy of separating children from their mothers, I make no apologies for that," he added, in a swipe at the Trump administration.
The big picture: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in March that the U.S. is currently on-pace to encounter more people at the U.S.-Mexico border "than we have in the last 20 years."
- According to DHS data released to reporters on Wednesday, there have been an average of 455 kids crossing the border each day over the past 30 days — not including those from Mexico.
- Biden put Vice President Harris in charge of addressing the migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday.