President Joe Biden on Thursday misstated the reality at the U.S.-Mexico border when he asserted that “nothing has changed” when it comes to the number of children coming to the United States since his predecessor, Donald Trump, was in office. The numbers are up since Biden became president on Jan. 20.
In his first presidential news conference, Biden also offered a misleading account of who's getting the most benefits from the Trump tax cuts.
A look at Biden's remarks:
BIDEN, asked about the increase in immigrant children crossing the border: “Truth of the matter is nothing has changed. As many people came — 28% increase in children to the border in my administration; 31% in the last year in 2019, before the pandemic — in the Trump administration. It happens every single solitary year. There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year.”
THE FACTS: The president erred. Unaccompanied immigrant children have come to the border in higher numbers than what he said.
According to statistics published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, authorities encountered 9,457 children without a parent in February, a 61% increase from January, not 28%. The numbers of unaccompanied children did rise 31% between January 2019 and February 2019.
Asked about Biden’s statement, the Homeland Security Department pointed to figures for all border crossings, including adults and families traveling together. There was a 28% rise in all encounters with migrants between January and last month, compared with 31% between the same months in 2019. But Biden specifically noted a rise “in children.”
Biden correctly noted seasonal trends in migration and a tendency in many years for border crossings to increase before the hot summer months. But while he tried to play down his inauguration as a reason many children and teenagers have decided to migrate to the U.S., migrants interviewed by The Associated Press have expressed hope that the country would be more permissive to migrants under Biden than under Trump.
In President Joe Biden’s first formal White House news conference, he answered several questions about his administration’s immigration challenges. He stated that the current influx of migrants happen every year.