Biden caught off guard on border control with migrants thinking he is a soft touch

The Biden administration is coming under increasing pressure after a surge in migration on the US-Mexico border.

New images released by border control show the scale of the problem the president is now facing.

Thousands of children and teenagers are being held in jail-like facilities which have been hastily set up to deal with the influx.

A group of migrants near a baseball field after crossing into Texas
Image:A group of migrants near a baseball field after crossing into Texas

But even with the extra capacity, border control has been overwhelmed and the holding centres are clearly overcrowded.

There have also been significant delays in processing the children in custody – by law it should take no more than three days but many minors have been held for at least 10 days.

Mr Biden is facing criticism on all sides for the deepening crisis.

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Children sleep on mats at US border

Some Democrats say conditions in the processing facilities are inhumane.

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And a divided Republican Party has found unity on this issue, accusing Mr Biden of losing control on immigration after reversing some of Donald Trump’s more hard-line policies.

Under Mr Biden’s government, children are no longer separated from their families. But the arrival of huge numbers of unaccompanied minors is becoming a huge issue.

The White House now faces a difficult week, with Mr Biden holding his first press conference since he took office on Thursday.

The administration has so far refused access to journalists and has tried to deflect the blame for the crisis.

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It claims the surge is a result of an unco-operative transition with the Trump administration, pent up demand because of coronavirus, and deteriorating economic and political conditions in central and South America.

The crisis is clearly a danger for Mr Biden and represents a soft flank of his presidency.

Clearly he is scrambling to get on top of the situation, but the constant drip-drip of images and headlines is damaging and could well overshadow the considerable successes he has had since taking office.

He is currently on a PR blitz, selling his $1.9tn COVID-19 relief package, but is now instead having to deal with a surge of migration on the border.

And the optics are not great.

It looks like he has been caught off guard by the sheer volume of desperate people trying to get across to the US, apparently motivated by the belief that his administration is a softer touch when it comes to border control.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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