Fact Check: Biden’s Comments on Illegal Immigration, Border Crisis

COMMENTARY Border Security

Fact Check: Biden’s Comments on Illegal Immigration, Border Crisis

Mar 25, 2021 2 min read

Commentary By

Chad F. Wolf
Ken Cuccinelli
President Biden answers a question during his first press briefing in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 25, 2021. JIM WATSON / Contributor / Getty Images

Heritage’s immigration team—James Carafano, Lora Ries, Mike Howell, Chad Wolf, Ken Cuccinelli, and Mark Morgan—responded to the many false and misleading statements made by President Biden about illegal immigration and the border crisis during Thursday’s press conference:

“The president had the chance to show true leadership and accept responsibility for the crisis on the southern border. Unfortunately, he demonstrated that he is more interested in blaming his predecessor than in taking said responsibility for the crisis he has created.

“Biden ran on a pledge to ‘return to norms,’ and in one sense he certainly has followed through—he’s returned to the tradition of blaming his predecessors for his own mistakes. His words from the White House today only send a stronger message to cartels to continue trafficking children to the border. Make no mistake, his remarks are making the crisis worse, not better. He showed the American people in this press conference why he is not trustworthy on this issue, and why he is utterly ill-suited to the moment in which our nation finds itself.”

Claim #1: Border crises happen every year.
Rating: False

“Biden made numerous false statements, most notably claiming that the crisis we’re seeing ‘happens every year’ and can be attributed to seasonal patterns. 69,000 illegal aliens were apprehended in November 2020, with 100,000 apprehended in February, and an anticipated 120,000+ in March. By contrast, the November to March numbers under Trump in 2019-2020 decreased. From March 2020 to March 2021, CBP anticipates a 263% increase in illegal crossings. This is not seasonal—the responsibility lies squarely with the president’s poor planning and policies.”

Claim #2: President Trump’s policies didn’t reduce illegal crossings.
Rating: False

“He also claimed that President Trump’s immigration policies did not slow the flow of illegal immigration. This is demonstrably false. In fact, the 2019 border crisis was resolved by swift action from the Trump administration. DHS’ own numbers show a steady decrease in illegal crossings in 2019-2020: At the height of the 2019 crisis (May 2019), 140,000 illegal aliens were caught trying to cross the border. However, 42,000 illegal aliens were apprehended in November 2019, down 6% from October, and by March 2020, apprehensions were down to 33,000 for the month. It’s undeniable: Trump’s policies resolved the 2019 crisis.”

Claim #3: “Remain in Mexico” was inhumane.
Rating: False

“Biden also made unsubstantiated claims about the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, under which asylum seekers were required to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims were processed. He bizarrely claimed the policy left illegal aliens ‘sitting on the edge of the Rio Grande,’ with ‘not enough to eat.’ There is no evidence to support this claim. He also falsely claimed Trump sent kids back to Mexico to starve, apparently forgetting that his own administration is currently deporting Mexican unaccompanied minors back to Mexico. More importantly, the Trump administration complied with federal laws in returning minors to their home countries, and post-COVID, worked with countries of origin to ensure the safe return of every detained child being sent home.”