Immigration takes center stage in Biden’s first press conference

With young migrants crowded into detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration took center stage at Joe Biden’s first formal presidential press conference Friday. 

Biden argued that the surge in migrants "...happens every single solitary year. There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months," 

During a call with reporters Thursday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said he believes the overcrowding is a product of "...two things. One is that the Biden administration simply eliminated the previous administration’s rules that were in place, and had no plans to replace them — and the impression that anybody who wants to come to the United States can do so." 


St. Edward’s University political science professor David Thomason says there is some truth to both arguments. Border crossings typically spike this time of year. Still, he thinks the Biden administration needs to make their immigration policy clearer to the public. "I think what we’re seeing here are two ways of interpreting the same facts," he said. 

The Biden administration has not permitted press at most immigration facilities. When asked if he will "commit to transparency on this issue," Biden responded, "I will commit to transparency as soon as I’m in a position to be able to implement what we’re doing right now." When asked when that will be, he replied "I don’t know." 

"I think that is a dangerous spot for any administration to be in that criticized the previous administration for lack of transparency but then doesn’t have transparency in its own immigration detention centers and places of border security," said Thomason. 

Biden said Fort Bliss in El Paso has been approved to house 5,000 young migrants. Wednesday, he announced Vice President Kamala Harris will be overseeing problems at the border, adding she will be "...the lead person on dealing with and focusing on the fundamental reasons why people leave Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador in the first place." 


When asked about Harris’ new duties, Cornyn said he was glad to see the administration was taking immigration "seriously." But countered "...we have no record of nation-building. We tried to do it in Afghanistan, we tried to do it in Iraq, but we do need to try to support responsible people in those countries, to try to help them and we do that. The American taxpayer is very generous but I think it’s more complicated than just the conditions in this country ." 

On Friday Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other lawmakers will set off on a border tour. Cornyn said he is working on legislation he believes will cut down on the time it takes for asylum seekers to get in front of an immigration judge.