A top White House aide on Sunday insisted the rising numbers of migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, crossing the border is just the normal springtime surge.
Challenged to respond to the growing numbers of children arriving on their own — with 18,000 now in federal custody — Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, said the situation was not unusual.
“These are the same kinds of surges that we’ve seen,” Bedingfield said during a Sunday morning appearance on on ABC’s “This Week.”
“These surges are cyclical, they’re not the result of one administration’s policies or another administration’s policies.”
Bedingfield said the surge reflects “people fleeing poverty and violence” and pointed to similar surges in 2014, under President Obama, and 2019, under President Trump.
Bedingfield’s comments came as a new poll found that showed that immigration is an area where President Biden has his lowest approval ratings. It found that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of his approach on immigration, and 54 percent believe the situation has reached “crisis” level.
On Sunday, Bedingfield claimed that immigration policies are in many ways unchanged under Biden.
“It’s important to be clear our policy hasn’t changed,” she said, citing health codes and other laws that require or allow the government to prevent entry into the country.
“The vast majority of people who arrive at our border, we’re turning away.”
The longterm solution, she added, is not building new facilities but working with countries in the “Northern Triangle” — Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras — to improve the situation there so migrants don’t want to come to the U.S.
Bedingfield added that the Biden administration is opening new shelters that will be able to shift children out of the hands of Customs and Border Patrol and into facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services.