U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, joined CNN host Jake Tapper on March 14 to defend President Joe Biden’s response to the influx of unaccompanied children at the southern border and shift blame to the Trump administration.
The number of unaccompanied children encountered by Border Patrol increased sharply earlier this year, from 5,858 in January to 9,457 in February — a 61% increase, according to federal data. It’s the largest one month percentage increase since U.S. Customs and Border Protection began reporting the data in 2010.
“Is this a crisis?” Tapper asked Escobar.
“There is no doubt, Jake, that what we’re seeing today is an enormous challenge,” Escobar replied, adding that the uptick is a consequence of the Trump administration’s immigration policies that the Biden administration is “is working day and night” to amend.
“We began seeing the increase in unaccompanied minors going back to last April 2020. This is not something that happened as a result of Joe Biden becoming president,” Escobar said. “We saw the increases dating back almost a year. And this was during the Trump administration.”
The growing number of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has become a partisan issue — Democrats blaming the uptick on Trump policies while Republicans blame it on changes the Biden administration has implemented.
During a March 21 interview on ABC News, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made comments similar to Escobar’s.
“Why is it especially challenging and difficult now? Because the entire system under United States law that has been in place throughout administrations of both parties was dismantled in its entirety by the Trump administration,” Mayorkas said.
Gov. Greg Abbott, on the other hand, has blamed Biden’s “reckless open border policies” for the “surge in border crossings and cartel activity.”
Migration patterns are complex and driven by numerous factors beyond changes in U.S. immigration policy, experts say. Is Escobar accurate in saying that increases in the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border dates back to the Trump administration? And is she correct to say that these increases are not “a result of Joe Biden becoming president”? …
Read the full story and see how Escobar’s claim rated at PolitiFact. Plus, hear an interview with PolitiFact Texas’ Brandon Mulder in the audio player above.