WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Republicans are continuing to rail against President Joe Biden over his response to a surge of migrants at the southern border.
A group of senators visited the border Friday morning to draw attention to the issue, but the president insists the spike is not his fault.
During his first presidential news conference on Thursday, Biden repeatedly defended his own policy decisions at the border and blamed his predecessor for the current breakdown, denying accusations that his words have caused the surge — thousands of whom are unaccompanied minors.
“It’s because of lack of food, it’s because of gang violence,” he said.
Biden also argued the migrant surge is something nearly every president must address during their time in office.
“Does anybody suggest that there was a 31% increase under Trump because he’s a nice guy?” Biden asked.
And while he says his administration is working to house and feed minors arriving alone, he insisted “the overwhelming majority of people coming to the border and crossing are being sent back.”
But early Friday morning, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who led a group of 18 Republican senators to the southern border, painted a much different picture on Twitter.
“Last month, 100,000 people came across the border illegally,” Cruz said. “We’ve already gone to detention facilities that are overrun, many of them with families.”
Cruz and fellow Republicans are calling on the president to take more aggressive action and to re-instate Trump-era immigration policies to deter migrants from traveling and to stop drug cartels from profiting.
Biden says he’s working to rebuild an immigration system he says was dismantled under the Trump administration. That includes investing more than $700 million in Central American countries at the root of problem.
“Rolling back policies of separating children from their mothers, I make no apology for that,” Biden said.
Another issue some Republicans are raising is that of transparency.
The White House continues to deny press access to border holding facilities, citing pandemic health concerns. When asked on Thursday about when that might change, Biden said he does not know.