Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was asked about the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly in Texas where the Department of Defense just bolstered a National Guard deployment, during an interview with NBC News.
“Let me ask you about what we are seeing at the border. Recently, the administration sent 800 active-duty troops to the Texas border to deal with the surge in migrants, some record numbers this past week. Was the Biden administration caught off guard by this latest surge of migrants?” asked “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker.
Q: "Was the Biden administration caught off guard by this latest surge of migrants?"
BUTTIGIEG: "What you saw was the administration, as always, responding as needed…"
Q: "Were you caught off guard though?"
BUTTIGIEG: "The president did what needed to be done." pic.twitter.com/llontN4RTT
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“Well, what you saw was the administration, as always, responding as needed to conditions being proactive where necessary,” Buttigieg responded.
Welker pressed the issue. “Were you caught off guard, though?” she asked again.
“Look, the president did what needed to be done. And often that involves a rapid response, like the rapid response that this administration directed. But also what we see is a political dynamic where some people seem to prefer that the problem continue, rather than to do something to actually solve it,” Buttigieg said.
“And I have to say, that kind of reminds me of what’s going on in the funding fight, where some of the very same people who would line up to take a shot at the administration over something like air travel disruption, are also trying to disrupt us from training more air traffic controllers,” he added, alluding to the spending fight in Congress ahead of a possible government shutdown.
Government data released last week showed authorities encountering migrants more than 304,000 times around the nation in August, a number which was over 50,000 more than the month before.
While Republicans have criticized Biden for not doing more to secure the border, Democrats have also gotten fed up as big cities across the country — and far away from the border — feel the crunch of an influx of migrants. Among them is New York City.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently told The New York Times that immigration was “arguably” the Biden administration’s “weakest issue.”
In response, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued that Biden “has done more to secure the border and to deal with this issue of immigration than anybody else.”
Meanwhile, Biden has accused “MAGA Republicans” of “gutting” the immigration system and undermining border security.