As the number of illegal immigrants arriving at the southern border continues to surge, Mexico’s president cast blame this week on President Joe Biden’s policies, saying he created certain “expectations” that are ultimately spurring illegal immigrants into making the trip.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a March 23 press conference that Biden has caused the surge at the U.S.–Mexico border. Border Patrol apprehended 100,441 illegal border-crossers along the southern border in February, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The number reflects a 28 percent increase over the previous month.
“Expectations were created that with President Biden’s government, there would be a better treatment of migrants. This has caused Central American migrants, and also from our country, to want to cross the border thinking that it is easier to do so,” he said.
López Obrador’s comments on the situation come as the Biden administration sent officials to Mexico and other countries to discuss the increasing number of illegal immigrants at the border.
It’s not the first time Mexico’s president has criticized how Biden has handled immigration policy. On March 1, López Obrador said both countries should work together to stem the flow, after a virtual meeting with Biden.
“They see him as the migrant president, and so many feel they’re going to reach the United States,” López Obrador said of Biden. “We need to work together to regulate the flow, because this business can’t be tackled from one day to the next.”
The White House and the Biden administration repeatedly refused to use the word “crisis” when describing the historical increase of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.–Mexico border. Reporters have in recent weeks been pressing the administration on this.
An ongoing immigration policy tracker by the Heritage Foundation found that Biden has rolled back almost all of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
The photos, which were taken in a Donna, Texas, overflow facility, show what appear to be children sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder on floor mats under what appear to be emergency blankets—and on benches. Another photo shows a large line of male illegal immigrants waiting to be processed, while another photo shows small children inside a playpen as a TV is showing children’s shows.
The photos were released after Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Project Veritas separately released photos of children sleeping on the floor next to each other. Cuellar told Axios that they’re being kept in “terrible conditions” and said the CBP should transfer them to facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be sent to the border to “support a government-wide effort over the next 90 days to safely receive, shelter, and transfer unaccompanied children who make the dangerous journey to the U.S. southwest border.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.