President Biden on Thursday said that he makes “no apologies” for ending a variety of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Biden made the comments in his first live press briefing as president, 65 days into his administration and amid a migrant surge at the southern border.
Asked if he may have rolled back some of the Trump administration’s immigration policies too quickly via executive order, Biden adamantly defended his actions.
“First of all, all the policies that were underway were not helping at all, did not slow up the amount of immigration,” Biden said. “Rolling back the policies of separating children from their mothers? Make no apology for that.”
“Rolling back the policies of “Remain in Mexico,’ sitting on the edge of the Rio Grande in a muddy circumstance with not enough to eat? I make no apologies for that,” Biden said. “I make no apologies for ending programs that did not exist before Trump became president that have an incredibly negative impact on the law — international law — as well as on human dignity. And so I make no apologies for that.”
Immigration was a major topic of Biden’s presser, consuming a significant amount of time during the approximately hour-long affair.
He also said North Korea is his top foreign policy issue and ripped GOP state voting legislation, saying it makes “Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.”
On the migrant crisis, the reporters also pushed Biden on whether he will allow the news media to regularly view migrant facilities on the border. Biden said that he would, once his administration begins to implement certain actions.
“I will commit when my plan very shortly is underway to let you have access to not just them,” Biden said referring to facilities where children are being processed, but other facilities as well. “I will commit to transparency.”
Biden further emphasized that the vast majority of individuals who law enforcement encounters on the border are being sent back, and that it is his administration’s goal to not let in most family units who are found crossing the border.
“Some families are not going back because Mexico is refusing to take them back. Some, not all,” the president said in his first news conference on Thursday. In fact, in February, most families were allowed to stay in the United States.
“We’re in negotiations with Mexico. That’s going to change. They should all be going back,” Biden continued.
In January, CBP expelled 4,546 family units under the Trump-era health order, Title 42, out of 7,294 encounters. That is the equivalent of just over 62%.
But in February, in a shift, most families were allowed to stay in the United States pending a decision on whether they will be expelled.
There were 19,246 total encounters with migrant families on the southern border in February. Of those encounters, 7,915 were expelled from the country under Title 42, and 11,331 were allowed to stay.