Border crisis: Biden now tells migrants 'Don't come' but had a different message in a 2019 debate
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, says the U.S. immigration numbers are 'on pace to break all records.'
During a 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate, President Biden said that the United States is a country that tells people struggling under oppression or poor conditions, "You should come," as he argued for a more open asylum policy.
But now, as his administration deals with a crush of migrants on the southwestern border ‒ many being kept in poor conditions similar to those Democrats considered a scandal under the Trump administration ‒ Biden is telling migrants to remain in place.
"They deserve to be heard. That's who we are," Biden said of those applying for asylum in a 2019 debate moderated by Univision's Jorge Ramos. "We're a nation that says, 'You want to flee, and you're fleeing oppression, you should come.'"
A "Biden for president 2020'" flag flies over a migrant camp on the U.S. southern border. Some migrants have said they chose to make the trip to the United States now because Biden won the presidential election. Biden has denied that his campaign rhetoric and policies are fueling the immigration surge. (Griff Jenkins/Fox News).
This year, as Republicans blame Biden's campaign rhetoric and policies for the situation at the border, the president has shifted and is telling migrants that they should stay in their home countries as he aims to let them apply for asylum where they are.
"I can say quite clearly don't come over," Biden told ABC's George Stephanopolous in an interview last week. "So don't leave your town or city or community. We're gonna make sure we have facilities in those cities and towns run by department of — by DHS and also access with HHS, the Health and Human Services, to say you can apply for asylum from where you are right now."
Biden and his administration have noted that there were significant migrant surges under the Trump administration as well. A White House spokesperson also said that "push forces," including "violence, economic hardships, corruption plus two hurricanes and a global pandemic," are driving people in Central America to the U.S.
"Yeah. Well, here's the deal. They're not," Biden said when Stephanopolous told him that migrants are saying they are coming to the U.S. because he was elected president.
A migrant wears a shirt that reads, "Biden please let us in." Some migrants have said they decided to come to the United States now because Biden won the presidential election. (Griff Jenkins/Fox News)
But the first three months of 2021 have seen more border encounters by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) than in corresponding months of any of the past three years. There were over 100,000 border encounters in February.
Meanwhile, many migrants are saying that they decided to come to the U.S. because Biden was elected president.
Exclusive Fox News photos from a migrant camp show a Biden campaign flag flying over the camp. In another photo, a man is wearing a shirt that says "Biden let us in," which is similar to shirts other migrants were spotted wearing.
One migrant interviewed by ABC News said that he "definitely" would not have come to the United States if former President Trump was still in office.
"We have a chance, you know. The same environment that's going on today wasn't there last year," he said. After being asked if he came to the U.S. because Biden was elected, the migrant said, "Basically," while also emphasizing the violence in his country.