Joe Biden was angered by his administration’s response to the plight of migrant children and berated his Health and Human Services Secretary in the Oval Office, according to a report.
Biden, who is said to be obsessed with detail and demanding answers of all his staff, on March 30 was angered by the pressing problem of how to deal with migrant children.
Nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors were stopped at the border in March, according to the Associated Press. In April the number of minors arriving without parents decreased by nine per cent.
Xavier Becerra, the HHS secretary, frustrated his boss by failing to have answers to his questions about the agency’s ability to take care of migrant children, according to two people familiar with the exchange, who spoke to The New York Times. No further details of what the two men said to one another were shared.
Joe Biden, pictured on Thursday, reportedly lost his temper with his Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, right, over the ongoing crisis at the US southern border
Unaccompanied children are seen arriving in Texas, having crossed the Rio Grande on Thursday. President Biden is said to demand detail-heavy proposals on a solution from his staffers
A Border Patrol agent is seen near El Paso in Texas on Thursday with migrants awaiting processing
Biden was described as a stickler for detail, who was unimpressed by ‘blandishing fast-talk’.
Earlier in March, the paper reported, the president was angered when his top immigration advisers were asked by Biden whether they had been to the border in recent days – and all replied they had not.
Four days later, the advisers, including Alejandro Mayorkas, in charge of Homeland Security and Susan Rice, director of Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, arrived at the border to assess the situation.
The report comes amid growing anger among Border Patrol Agents at the White House.
There are currently more than 20,000 migrants in HHS custody, up from just under 12,000 at the end of March.
The Associated Press reported that migrants are being housed at more than 200 sites in multiple states.
Twenty Republican governors this week wrote to Biden earlier this week, blaming his administration for the crisis, and expressed concern about HHS efforts to house an unknown number of children in their states.
Reuters conducted interviews with a dozen current and former agents, who spoke of their growing dissatisfaction over the relaxation of the immigrant restrictions President Donald Trump had enacted.
A group of children from Central America are seen resting, having crossed into Texas on Thursday
Border Patrol agents surround a group of asylum-seeking migrants from Central America after they crossed the Rio Grande into Penitas, Texas, on May 14
Since February after Biden assumed office, border crossings have skyrocketed, overwhelming migrant facilities already strapped for resources and space.
A record 179,000 people crossed the southern border illegally in April, up three per cent on the 172,000 who made the crossing in March.
‘We have so many people coming across, and then, we’re out there killing ourselves to catch them, rescue them, or whatever it is, and then, they’re being released,’ said Rosemarie Pepperdine, an agent who said she planned to retire.
‘Why even bother?’
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing three-quarters of the roughly 20,000 border patrol agents, criticized Biden’s leadership on the migrant situation.
‘I can confidently say that President Biden owns this crisis,’ Judd commented.
‘It is his fault.’
Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott wrote a memo April 16 detailing his grievances with the ban on immigration phrasing deemed politically incorrect by the administration.
The administration has implemented new policy directives, including a prohibition on terminology such as ‘illegal alien,’ ‘alien,’ and ‘assimilation’ when referring to migrants, aggravating many on-site officers.
‘Over the years many outside forces on both extremes of the political spectrum have intentionally, or unintentionally, politicized our agency and our mission,’ Scott said in the memo addressed to acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller.
Some agents have reportedly started calling Biden ‘Let ‘Em Go Joe,’ according to a border patrol agent who anonymously spoke with Reuters.
Gil Maza, a former agent who retired in March, sells a redesigned unofficial coin for the U.S. Border Patrol that reads ‘U.S. Welcome Patrol.’
Maza told Reuters he had sold 78 coins in a matter of days to past and present agents.
‘It sheds a little humor on the situation,’ Maza said of his creation.
‘And it’s something that helps us, I guess, mentally and emotionally cope with the situation because especially right now, the situation is pretty dire out there.’
US border agents encountered fewer minor migrants along the United States border with Mexico in April although overall apprehensions reached a 15-year high last month, according to a report released Tuesday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Data showed that the border patrol agency encountered 178,622 undocumented immigrants seeking to enter the United States in April, surpassing March’s total by 5,274.
Interdictions at the 1,954 mile border in April were more than 10 times that of April 2020, when 17,106 individuals were stopped by border patrol agents.
Meanwhile, border agents encountered 17,171 unaccompanied children, down 9 percent from 18,890 in March when a record number of unaccompanied migrant children entered U.S. custody along the southern border.
However, encounters at the border drastically increased during Trump’s final nine months in office and continued to worsen under the administration of his successor.