White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to answer whether President Joe Biden supported an alleged proposal from Mexican President Manuel López Obrador to bring up to 800,000 migrant workers into the U.S. to work as millions of Americans remain unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“López Obrador is reportedly expected to propose a new Bracero-style immigrant labor program to Biden, which could bring 600,000 to 800,000 Mexican and Central American immigrants a year to work legally in the United States,” Fox News reported. “A senior Biden administration official declined to say whether Biden would support or oppose that proposal, but told the Associated Press that both the U.S. and Mexico agree on the need to expand legal pathways for migration.”
“One other thing that the President of Mexico is expected to propose is an idea to bring an immigrant labor program to the U.S. that could bring 600,000-800,000 immigrants a year to work legally in the United States,” Fox News reporter Kristen Fisher said during Monday’s White House press briefing. “Is that something President Biden would consider?
“I’ve seen reports of that. I believe that’s a step that would require Congress,” Psaki responded. “I’m sure we’ll have a readout after the bilateral meeting this afternoon and they both will be speaking after it as well.”
Yikes: Jen Psaki won't answer whether Pres. Biden opposes a proposal by Mexico to send *600-800K* migrant workers into the U.S. to compete against Americans for jobs. pic.twitter.com/5JFTyb0LMO
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) March 1, 2021
The remarks from Psaki come as the most recent U.S. labor statistics show that the the unemployment rate remains above 6.3 percent and that the total number of unemployed persons in the U.S. sits at 10.1 million.
“Although both measures are much lower than their April 2020 highs, they remain well above their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020 (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively),” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
The question came during the same press conference where Biden DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas downplayed what is currently happening on the border, claiming that it was not a crisis.
“We are not saying don’t come,” Mayorkas said. “We are saying don’t come now. Because we will be able to deliver safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible.”
The Daily Wire noted that during the press conference, Mayorkas repeatedly refused to state whether or not he supports Democrats in Congress using the reconciliation process, which would not require bipartisan support, to attempt to “legalize millions of undocumented immigrants this year,” as one reporter put it.
The comments came after two U.S. lawmakers from Texas, who are both Democrats, have warned about the crisis on the border.
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) told CNN on Monday that urgent action was needed to avoid “catastrophic” results on the border.
“Well, my concern at this in the recent weeks in my district, migrants who made it across the border, who even pass the line of MPPs [Migrant Protection Protocols], who were 5,000 folks that have been waiting for two years across the border, made it across the Rio Grande Valley were processed and released,” Gonzalez responded. “If that is the message that we send to Central America and around the world, I can assure you, it won’t be long before we have tens of thousands of people showing up to our border.”
“And it’ll be catastrophic for our party, for our country, for my region, for my district, in the middle of a pandemic, in an area where we’ve lost over 3,000 people in my small congressional district,” he continued. “So, I think we need to have a better plan in place. I think asylum seekers should be able to ask for asylum and be processed in their home country or a neighboring country. And we shouldn’t have a policy in place that impulses people to make this 2,000 mile trek where cartels and human traffickers are enriching themselves.”