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Biden pressed on US-Mexico migrant issue


Biden pressed on US-Mexico migrant issue
US President Joe Biden (GP)

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Wasington – In his first press conference as United States President, Joe Biden has said there are multiple causes for the surge of migrants at the border.

More than 17 000 children are being kept in government run detention centres, according to latest estimates.

Over the hour-long event, he also spoke about topics ranging from guns, foreign policy and the US COVID-19 response.

But questions about the situation at the US-Mexico border dominated the event.

During the White House news conference, Biden blamed his predecessor Donald Trump for the growing humanitarian crisis on the southern border, and said it was normal for the US to experience an influx of migrants in cooler months.

“The truth of the matter is, nothing has changed,” he said, adding: “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.”

“I’d like to think it’s because I’m a nice guy, but it’s not,” he said, calling the surge a cyclical event.

He also blamed the “circumstances in their country”, including natural disasters, crime and lack of economic opportunity.

The US Customs and Border Protection agency releases monthly figures of the number of “encounters” at the southwest land border.

In January and February 2021, 78 442 and 100 441 people were apprehended, respectively. This is a significant increase from previous years.

Still, the highest number in the last few years was in May 2019 during Trump’s presidency – when over 140 000 people were apprehended by the authorities. (BBC)