White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged Wednesday “there’s more that needs to be done” to address the ongoing border crisis.
The Department of Homeland Security reported an estimated 210,000 apprehensions at the southwest border in July, including more than 19,000 unaccompanied children, according to The Associated Press.
The total apprehensions figure is a 21-year high.
July’s tally was on top of nearly 189,000 apprehended in June.
For the fiscal year, over 1.1 million migrants have been encountered crossing the border illegally.
“People are coming in record numbers. Does the president think his immigration plan is working?” Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki during a Wednesday briefing.
She responded that President Joe Biden has said, “Now is not the time to come.”
Psaki further argued the administration has set up a mechanism for people to apply within their country for asylum, but conceded, “There’s more that needs to be done.”
Press Secretary Jen Psaki admits Biden has failed to curb his border crisis: “more needs to be done” pic.twitter.com/S8FjDIcyQQ
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 4, 2021
“We’ve also instituted a number of additional steps recently,” the press secretary added, including expedited removals.
Doocy pointed to the 210,000 encounters at the border in July as evidence the plan clearly is not working.
“And I would also note the number of people who were removed from the border, which is an important part of the context, which is almost half of that number,” Psaki responded.
“But we’re still at work on improving a process and improving a system that was very broken when we took office,” Psaki also said.
In January, the month Biden assumed the presidency, there were approximately 78,500 apprehensions at the border.
In July 2020, while Trump was in office, about 41,000 migrants were apprehended.
As a further comparison, in July 2019, there were just under 82,000 encounters.
Former Trump administration acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told the Daily Mail the current numbers are “astronomically high” and signify the “Biden administration strategy simply [is] not working.”
The Daily Mail pointed out, “The Biden administration has done away with the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which forced migrants to remain in Mexico as they awaited their asylum hearing, ended construction of the border wall and made interior enforcement more relaxed.”
Wolf warned higher numbers are likely yet to come.
“You’ve got to keep in mind that July and August are the hottest months of the year, and that crossing is in the desert,” Wolf said. “We historically see numbers drop off because migrants understand weather patterns in the desert.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a Trump-era policy this week, referred to as Title 42, which empowers border patrol to remove migrants, with exceptions for unaccompanied minors and some families, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“This order was issued on August 2, 2021 and shall remain in effect until the CDC Director determines that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States from covered noncitizens has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health, and the Order is no longer necessary to protect the public health,” a CDC news release states.