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Border surge not Biden’s fault despite lifting restrictions: White House chief of staff


White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Sunday that President Biden is not to blame for a surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border.

“People who are sending their children here unaccompanied, children as young as 6, 7 years old, coming here with no adult who are sent on a dangerous journey — I don’t think that is because of a speech Joe Biden gave,” Klain told “Face the Nation.” “I think it is because of horrible conditions in El Salvador and Guatemala and Honduras.”

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“We’re working hard to get those children reunited with family members here in the U.S.,” he said. “The number of children we have stuck in our border patrol stations are down 84% in the past month. We’re making progress on resolving this problem ….”

Earlier this month, Customs and Border Protection projected that as many as 184,000 unaccompanied children could reach the border in fiscal year 2021.

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The Biden administration is reportedly spending at least $60 million per week to house the more than 16,000 migrant minors in its care. That funding, which amounts to $3.1 billion per year, is used to care for children in facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after they’ve been transferred from Border Patrol. Those costs are expected to rise dramatically in coming months, according to a Washington Post analysis

In a recent interview, Biden claimed that his administration has “now gotten control” of the high number of migrants surging at the southern border — while again blaming the Trump administration for the crisis that has overwhelmed officials in recent months.

Baja California state health workers measure the height of a boy at a makeshift camp for migrants seeking asylum in the United States at the border crossing Friday, March 12, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull))

“It is getting urgent action now,” Biden said in an interview with NBC News. “For example, a month ago, we had thousands of young kids, in custody in places they shouldn’t be and controlled by the Border Patrol. We have now cut that down dramatically.”

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Critics have hammered Biden for his handling of immigration in the early days of his administration, pointing to moves that narrowed interior enforcement and slashed Trump-era border controls, which they say increased the pull factors that drew migrants north.

Biden has ended construction of the wall at the southern border, ended the Migrant Protection Protocols and limited Immigration and Customs Enforcement enforcement priorities, while paying for migrant travel costs and releasing some family units into the interior of the U.S.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Morgan Phillips and Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.



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