A BIDEN aide admitted on Wednesday that the administration’s policies may have encouraged a surge in asylum seekers to cross the border, as fears of a cartel boom rise.
During a White House briefing, Southern Border Coordinator Roberta Jacobson said it was not a “coincidence" that border crossing attempts spiked after President Joe Biden entered office.
Asked if the surge was tied to Biden dismantling former President Donald Trump’s strict border policies, Jacobson said: "We've seen surges before. Surges tend to respond to hope, and there was significant hope for a more humane policy after four years of pent-up demand.”
However, Jacobson said she would not necessarily call that hope for a more humane policy a coincidence.
"But the idea that a more humane policy would be in place may have driven people to make that decision, but perhaps, more importantly, it definitely drove smugglers to express disinformation, spread disinformation about what was now possible," Jacobson said.
Jacobson’s response comes as Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers appear to increasingly use colored plastic wristbands to track migrants paying to cross the border.
Many wristbands have been found on the ground along the Rio Grande in Texas, which US border officials take as a sign that such cartel activity is rising.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier this month expressed concern that the Biden administration’s asylum policies are drawing illegal immigration and in turn, opportunities for organized crime.
“They see him as the migrant president, and so many feel they're going to reach the United States,” Obrador said of Biden on March 2.
“We need to work together to regulate the flow, because this business can't be tackled from one day to the next.”
Jacobson said the Biden administration is working on improving immigration policies as well as its messaging around them.
“We are trying to walk and chew gum at the same time. We are trying to convey to everyone in the region that we will have legal processes in the future,” she said.
“But at the same time, you cannot come through irregular means.”
Jacobson added in Spanish: “The border is not open.”
She said that Biden has a $4billion plan to address immigration and its root causes that involves working to make Latin American nations more safe and prosperous with funding through a foreign assistance package.
The Biden administration also plans to start the Central American Minors program again, which lets minors from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador apply for a refugee settlement in the US.
Source: Read Full Article