News & Politics

White House Damage Control After Biden Calls Border Situation a 'Crisis'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Last week, many of us were surprised when President Joe Biden used the word “crisis” to describe the situation at the southern border. “We’re going to increase the number [of refugees]. The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once.”

After months of refusing to call it a “crisis,” this seemed like a stunning admission that may have indicated that things were about to change, that the Biden administration would finally treat the situation at the border as a crisis.

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So much for that. On Monday, the White House tried to walk back Biden’s comments, claiming they did not represent the administration’s official position.

“No, there is no change in position. Children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships and other dire circumstances is not a crisis,” a White House official told CNN. According to this official, Biden “was referring to the crisis in Central America — the dire circumstances so many are fleeing from. He was not referring to the Federal Government’s response.”

This ridiculous spin on Biden’s words could make you dizzy. Biden specifically said “the crisis that ended up on the border with young people,” an indisputable reference to what’s happening here, not what’s happening in Central America.

Since this explanation fell apart, White House Press Secretary Jen “Circle Back” Psaki tried to spin Biden’s words even more. “The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crisis,” she said. “He does feel that the crisis in Central America — the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from — that that is a situation we need to spend our time or effort on.”

The only thing more surprising than Biden’s admitting there is a crisis at the border is the sad attempt to walk back that claim. How can they not admit there’s a crisis? Administration-run migrant facilities have been struggling with “overcrowded conditions,” and children are forced to sleep on floors, go hungry, and go long periods of time without bathing. The facility in Donna, Texas, which was designed for 250 migrants, is holding over 1,800 people, a staggering 729 percent of its capacity.

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In addition to the overcrowding and deplorable conditions the Biden administration has been subjecting these kids to, unaccompanied migrant children in the care of the government are being sexually assaulted at a migrant facility in San Antonio.

The only thing worse than not calling this a crisis is trying to pretend that it is not one.