On Saturday morning, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) took to social media and appeared to question whether Joe Biden had revealed plans “to create a crisis” at the border while pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination more than 18 months ago.
McCarthy tweeted a short video clip of comments that recirculated online earlier this week from a Democratic debate on September 12, 2019, that showed Biden vowing to encourage migrants to make their way to the United States if elected.
“We should believe him when he tells us his plans to create a crisis in advance,” McCarthy wrote in the tweet.
“I would, in fact, make sure that there is—we immediately surge to the border, all those people seeking asylum.” – Candidate Biden in September of 2019.
We should believe him when he tells us his plans to create a crisis in advance. pic.twitter.com/vb74jKTT3i
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 20, 2021
During the debate, Democrats had taken turns criticizing the hardline immigration policies of President Donald Trump. Moderator Jorge Ramos asked then-candidate Biden why Latinos should trust him, referencing his previous support for a border wall and the millions of people that had been deported when he had previously served as vice president.
Biden falsely claimed the Obama administration “didn’t lock people in cages” or “separate families” at the southern U.S. border and cited the establishment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“What I would do as president is several more things, because things have changed,” Biden said during the debate. “I would, in fact, make sure that there is, we immediately surge to the border – all those people are seeking asylum, they deserve to be heard. That’s who we are. We’re a nation who says, if you want to flee, and you’re fleeing oppression, you should come.”
Biden: "I would, in fact, make sure that there is, we immediate surge to the border, all those people seeking asylum they deserve to be heard, that's who we are, we are nation that says if you want to flee and you are fleeing oppression you should come."
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 17, 2021
Immigration authorities had warned of a possible upcoming surge at the border after the presidential election.
According to The New York Times, “a flood of asylum seekers and other migrants has arrived since the start of the Biden administration, drawn in part by the new president’s more accommodating tone compared with his predecessor’s.” Biden reversed several Trump-era policies that, in part, were intended to deter migrants from coming to America to claim asylum.
The Biden administration recently deployed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which responds to natural or man-made domestic disasters and emergencies, to help manage the influx of unaccompanied children who have made the journey to the U.S.-Mexico border.
During a recent interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Biden discouraged migrants from coming and told them to remain in their home communities.
“I can say quite clearly, don’t come over,” Biden said. “Let’s get something straight though. The vast majority of people crossing the border are being sent back.”
EXCLUSIVE: @GStephanopoulos presses Pres. Biden on the border crisis.
"Do you have to say quite clearly, 'Don't come'?
— ABC News (@ABC) March 16, 2021
The Associated Press reports, Biden is “facing criticism from Republicans that his administration has sent mixed messages,” and:
Critics have focused on public comments from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who earlier his month said the administration’s message to migrants was “don’t come now” and a slip by Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s lead adviser on the border, who said in Spanish during a recent briefing the “border is not closed,” before correcting herself.
The president and other administration officials in recent days have stepped up efforts to urge migrants not to come. Embassies in Northern Triangle countries are airing public service announcements underscoring the dangers of making the trek north.
Eric Hershberg, director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University, said Biden’s team faces a powerful counter-narrative as it attempts to persuade desperate Central Americans to stay put: chatter on social media from migrants who successfully made it across the border and smugglers who insist that now is the ideal time.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that “a new spike in the number of families and children crossing the Rio Grande into South Texas over the past several hours” has forced Border Patrol to request airplanes “to transport migrants to states near the Canadian border for processing.”