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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.

Go deeper

Texas Democrat: Close border to some minors

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas). Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Filemon Vela, a Texas Democrat and early supporter of President Biden, is urging the White House to adopt a short-term solution to the migration surge in his district: turn away older teenagers.

Why it matters: It's another indication the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border isn't politically or logistically tenable — especially for the people living there.

Biden puts Harris in charge of border crisis

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden is putting Vice President Harris in charge of addressing the migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border, senior administration officials announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Just as President Obama tasked Biden with fixing the U.S. economy after he assumed office in 2009, Biden is putting his own vice president in charge of a problem threatening to overshadow the new administration's successful launch.

Exclusive: Senior Biden officials making border visit

A temporary U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing center in Donna, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

A number of senior Biden administration officials and members of Congress are taking a trip on Wednesday to a refugee resettlement facility along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The high-level trip comes as pressure mounts on President Biden to visit himself amid a surge of unaccompanied children and migrant families crossing into the United States.