Biden’s border crisis: 6 things you need to know

The Biden administration is facing calls for more transparency as the federal government diverts tens of millions of dollars to deal with an influx of migrants, including children and families.

The administration ignored warning signs, including briefings from senior Customs and Border Protection officials, about an impending crisis at the U.S. southern border.

MIGRANT SAYS HE CAME TO US BORDER BECAUSE BIDEN WAS ELECTED, WOULD NOT HAVE TRIED TO CROSS UNDER TRUMP

“The administration knew it was going to happen and everything since [Biden took office] has been how to manage it. The response is to merely manage the processing — not to stem the tide,” a senior Customs and Border Protection official told Fox News.

A migrant wears a shirt that says "Biden please let us in." Some migrants have said they decided to come to the United States now because Biden won the presidential election. (Griff Jenkins/Fox News)

A migrant wears a shirt that says “Biden please let us in.” Some migrants have said they decided to come to the United States now because Biden won the presidential election. (Griff Jenkins/Fox News)

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has taken heat for refusing to label the situation a crisis.

“The situation at the southwest border is difficult,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. “We are working around the clock to manage it and we will continue to do so. That is our job. We are making progress and we are executing on our plan. It will take time and we will not waver in our commitment to succeed.”

Here’s what you need to know about the situation at the border:

1. Even liberal news outlets are taking issue with press access at the border.

The ongoing influx of migrants at the border is growing so dire that CNN had no choice but to call out the Biden administration for denying it access to what many believe to be a crisis of the administration’s own doing.

CNN’s Pamela Brown examined the migrant surge and overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities in a segment over the weekend, telling viewers that “as the situation at the US-Mexico border gets worse, the media is being kept from it.”

In addition, an award-winning photojournalist blasted the Biden administration for giving “zero access” to the media to observe Customs and Border Protection operations at the southern border.

Photojournalist John Moore took to Twitter to lament the lack of transparency.

“I respectfully ask US Customs and Border Protection to stop blocking media access to their border operations,” Moore tweeted Friday. “I have photographed CBP under Bush, Obama and Trump but now – zero access is granted to media. These long lens images taken from the Mexican side.”

2. The Biden administration awarded ICE an $86.9 million contract for hotel rooms.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is securing hotel rooms to handle the growing influx of families crossing into the U.S.

The Biden administration awarded ICE an $86.9 million contract for hotel rooms near the border to provide temporary shelter and processing services for families who have not been expelled from the United States but have been placed in immigration proceedings for their removal.

The contract, through Texas-based nonprofit Endeavors, provides 1,239 beds and “other necessary services.” The families will receive a comprehensive health assessment, including COVID-19 testing.

A boy sits in front of a tent housing several families at a makeshift camp of migrants at the border port of entry leading to the United States, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A boy sits in front of a tent housing several families at a makeshift camp of migrants at the border port of entry leading to the United States, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull))

3. The Biden administration ignored warning signs of the border situation.

The Biden administration ignored warning signs, including briefings from senior Customs and Border Protection officials, about an impending crisis at the U.S. southern border.

“The administration knew it was going to happen and everything since [Biden took office] has been how to manage it. The response is to merely manage the processing — not to stem the tide,” a senior Customs and Border Protection official told Fox News.

During President Biden’s transition, Customs and Border Protection officials briefed his team about the probability of an increase in unaccompanied minors trying to cross the border should he reverse some of his predecessor’s policies, The Washington Post reported this weekend.

4. Some predicted a crisis as early as last year.

Many in Central America spread the word that after Jan. 20, Biden’s inauguration date, migrants at the border would have a better chance of getting into the U.S., Reuters reported in mid-December.

Then-candidate Biden promised during the campaign to reverse a number of key immigration policies enacted under President Trump — changes that border officials feared could fuel a surge at the southern border.

President Joe Biden recovers after stumbling while boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, March 19, 2021. Biden is en route to Georgia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Joe Biden recovers after stumbling while boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, March 19, 2021. Biden is en route to Georgia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, were crucial to ending “catch-and-release,” a policy in which migrants are released into the U.S. while awaiting immigration hearings, Trump administration officials warned.

“If MPP is to go away it’ll be absolutely devastating,” Mark Morgan, the acting CBP commissioner at the time, warned in November.

5. February’s border numbers were big.

Customs and Border Protection encountered 100,441 individuals in February, a 28% increase over January, the agency said. Of those, 19,246 individuals were in family units, 9,457 were unaccompanied children and 71,598 were single adults.

6. Border facilities are crowded — despite the pandemic.

Photos of migrants in a crowded border facility in Donna, Texas, were released Monday by the office of Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, as the Biden administration limits media access to the southwestern border.

SEE PHOTOS:

The migrants, who are in clear pens akin to cages, are seen sleeping on pads on the floor with aluminum blankets. In some instances, it appears that dozens are sharing individual pens. Most appear to be wearing masks.

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Amid a significant surge of migrants to the southern border in Biden’s first two months, some in the media have complained about a lack of access to facilities like the one in Donna.

The White House has said it is limiting media access to border facilities in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday the Biden administration is aiming to finalize details on how the media can access border facilities like the one in Donna.

Fox News’ Yael Halon, Tyler Olson and Adam Shaw and FOX Business’ Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.

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