Biden Blames Overwhelmed Border on Increase in Migrants from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua

Melanie Arter | September 20, 2022 | 7:13pm EDT
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President Joe Biden answers a question from a reporter as he leaves after speaking about the DISCLOSE Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, September 20, 2022. - The act aims to reform federal campaign finance by providing for greater and faster public disclosure of campaign spending. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden answers a question from a reporter as he leaves after speaking about the DISCLOSE Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, September 20, 2022. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

( - As the United States crossed the 2 million mark in encounters with migrants at the southern border, President Biden blamed the border being overwhelmed Wednesday on the influx of migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, saying that fewer migrants are coming from Central America and Mexico.

As reported, so far in Fiscal Year 2022, Border Patrol had a record 2,150,639 enforcement actions with migrants who entered the U.S. at the southern border - 1,997,769 of which were migrants who entered illegally between ports of entry.

When asked why the border is more overwhelmed under his watch, Biden said, “Because there are three countries that never — there are fewer and fewer immigrants coming from Central America and from Mexico. It's a totally different circumstance. 

“What's on my watch now is Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, and the ability to send them back to those states is not rational. You could send them back and have them — we're working with Mexico and other countries to see if we can stop the flow, but that's the difference,” he said after delivering remarks on the DISCLOSE Act.

When asked about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plans to send migrants to Delaware, the president said, “He should come visit. We have a beautiful shoreline.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House has “received word of the flights” after a reporter asked about reports that the same plane that flew migrants to Martha’s Vineyard last week are taking migrants to the president’s home state of Delaware.

Jean-Pierre said that the administration is “coordinating closely with state officials and local service providers who are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims.”

“Staying on the border and the record number of arrests that we are seeing, the president campaigned on addressing the root causes of the migration. He’s been in office now for almost two years. We are seeing these apprehensions reach record levels. What exactly went wrong here?” ABC White House Correspondent Rachel Scott asked.

JEAN-PIERRE: Let me just give you, just to put it into context and talk a little bit about the facts of what you just mentioned and the numbers that we have seen that was announced by DHS yesterday. So first these people are fleeing communism, as we have said, as you heard DHS say as well. 

Falling authoritarian regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are causing a new migration challenge across the Western Hemisphere. What we’re seeing is a new, definitely a new pattern, not just along our southern border as well, but our western clearly hemisphere. 

Meanwhile, migration in Mexico and Northern Central America has come down for three consecutive months and is down by nearly half, and what we saw the increase with Nicaraugua, Venezuela and Cuba is up by 121 percent. 

So there is a change in the pattern that we have seen most recently, but we are doing what we can to work with our regional partners to address this new challenge, and process individuals as safely, orderly and humane way. 

That is a campaign commitment that the president has made and continues to move forward with, but you have to remember that not everyone who arrives at the border gets to stay. There is a process in place that we have been moving forward with. You heard us talk about the individual encounters at the border has increased in this year historically than any other year. 

DHS continues to expel migrants as required by court order under CDC’s Title 42, and so– and those who can’t be expelled under Title 42 are screened and processed to have their claims for relief heard by an immigration judge in removal proceedings. So again, there is a process that we have been moving forward with. 

More individuals are encountered at the border and moved through and without a legal basis. Those without a legal basis to remain will be removed or expelled.

SCOTT: Just a quick follow-up. You mentioned a change in pattern. Is that a sign that there needs to be a change in strategy from the administration to tackle it?

JEAN-PIERRE: I think that what we have been able to do, again more individuals, yes, at the border, and those without a legal process who remain are removed and expelled this year more than any other year. 

So you have seen how historic the numbers have been and make sure that we are expelling folks, but here’s the thing, you know, and we have said this many times, there is– we have solutions. 

We have brought solutions on day one of this administration. The president has been very clear. He put forth an immigration— comprehensive immigration bill, piece of legislation, and what we would like to see is Republicans decide to come to the table and help us deal with a really systemic problem that we have seen for decades when it comes to our immigration system, which by the way was actually mismanaged and decimated by the last administration. 

So again, we have put forth a solution on how to move forward, but what Republicans want to do  we’ve been very clear - you’ve heard me talk about this last week - is they want to move forward with a political stunt.

Zeke was just asking me what we’re seeing in Delaware today is a political stunt being done by Governor DeSantis. Let’s remember. These folks are fleeing communism. 

When you think about Venezuela, what’s going on in Venezuela, when you think about what’s going on in Nicaragua, when you think about what’s going on in Cuba, they are fleeing political persecution only to be used as a political pawn by the Florida governor, and that is something that the people in Florida should be asking the governor why is he doing this.

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