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Biden finally admits there is a crisis at the border after caving to pressure from progressives to raise refugee cap

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The White House previously said there was no crisis at the southern border

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Joe Biden finally admitted on Saturday that there is a crisis at the U.S. southern border. The Biden administration previously refused to use the word "crisis" when addressing the unprecedented surge of migrants flooding the southern border in recent months.

After golfing in Delaware on Saturday, the press asked Biden about the U.S. refugee cap, which made headlines this week when there were reports that the number would remain the same as the Trump administration. White House reporters said on Friday that the Biden administration would have a refugee cap of 15,000 — the same historically low number that former President Donald Trump had during his time in office.

During the campaign, Biden vowed to raise the refugee cap to 125,000. However, Biden is on track to accept the fewest number of refugees this year of any modern president, including Trump, according to a report from the International Rescue Committee.

Following reports that Biden would not increase the refugee cap, several progressive Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) lashed out at Biden for not accepting more refugees. The far left-wing politicians labeled Biden's failure to raise the refugee cap as "racist," "xenophobic," "unconscionable," and "utterly unacceptable."

Hours after the reports and the outrage, the White House seemed to reverse course and blamed "confusion" for the refugee cap report. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden has been consulting with advisors to "determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and October 1."

"Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely," Psaki said, making a reference to the border crisis and the surge of unaccompanied children and the proposal by Biden's State Department to accept 62,500 refugees for the current fiscal year.

On Saturday, Biden appeared to cave to the pressure of the progressive Democrats, and said that he would increase the refugee cap. "We're going to increase the number," Biden said of the refugee cap.

Then Biden finally admitted that there is a crisis at the southern border.

"The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people," Biden told reporters in Wilmington. "We couldn't do two things at once. But now we are going to increase the number."

The Biden administration has gone out of their way to not classify the migrant surge as a "crisis." On March 22, Psaki refused to call the historic surge of migrants at the southern border a "crisis."

"Children, presenting at our border, who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing prosecution, who are fleeing terrible situations is not a crisis," Psaki said. "We feel that it is our responsibility to humanely approach this circumstance, and make sure they are treated and put in conditions that are safe."

On March 17, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas delivered testimony before a House panel, where Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said, "Cartels and traffickers see that the greenlight is on at our southern border and the United States is open for business again. This administration has created this crisis by rescinding these agreements."

Mayorkas rebutted McCaul's use of the word "crisis."

"I will share with you how I define a crisis. A crisis is when a nation is willing to rip a nine-year-old child out of the hands of his or her parent and separate that family to deter future migration," Mayorkas said. "That to me is a humanitarian crisis. And what the president has committed to and what I am committed to and execute is to ensure that we have an immigration system that works and that migration to our country is safe, orderly and humane."

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that 172,000 people attempted to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border, a 71% increase in border crossers from February. So far this year, the CBP has encountered 569,800 at the U.S. border.

The Biden administration is reportedly spending at least $60 million a week to accommodate the more than 16,000 migrant minors in federal facilities operated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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