President Biden is declining to call the situation at the southern border a crisis – even amid reports that his administration needs another 20,000 beds at migrant facilities to deal with a surge of unaccompanied minors.
When asked during an appearance Tuesday if there was a crisis at the border, Biden declined to use the term.
“No — we will be able to handle it, God willing,” Biden said.
Later, at a White House briefing, Fox News’ Kristin Fisher asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki, “at what point does it become a crisis?”
President Joe Biden speaks about efforts to combat COVID-19, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“We had the security of Homeland Security yesterday conveying it’s a challenge,” Psaki replied. “We’re going to approach this without labeling. We’re going to approach this with policy, with humanity and with a focus on what we can do to keep these kids safe.”
Experts predict as many as 117,000 unaccompanied minors will cross the border this year.
Meanwhile, Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose district includes a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, said that while the situation is not yet a crisis in his eyes, it’s “getting there.”
“The numbers have been increasing,” he told “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday afternoon. “The number of unaccompanied kids, the number of families that are coming in are just increasing every day. In my district, just a couple of days ago, 166 people [crossed the border]… So it’s not a crisis yet, but it’s going to get there very soon.”
He said the influx would not slow down until the president takes action.
“The words that are spoken are not going to stop them,” he said.
Fellow Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, a Republican, said the Biden administration’s immigration policies were helping to encourage migrants to try and enter the country without permission.
“All the good we did in the last four years to stop illegal immigration is gonna be damaged within months,” he told Fox News’ John Roberts on “America Reports.”