Joe Biden says he should be 'flattered' if migrants come to US as he's the 'nice guy', denies blame for crisis
The president slammed his predecessor Donald Trump in his first formal press conference since taking over in January, saying the latter dismantled the immigration system
President Joe Biden on Thursday, March 25, said he would be “flattered” if migrants were arriving in the US because of him but also added that his administration was dealing with the fallout from his predecessor, Donald Trump, accusing the former president of dismantling the immigration system.
The 78-year-old Democrat, who appeared in his maiden presidential press conference since taking over on January 20, said: “Look, I guess I should be flattered that people are coming because I am the nice guy, that that is why they are coming, that I am a decent man or however it was phrased. That is why they are coming, because Biden is a decent guy. But the truth is nothing has changed.” Biden said this after facing questions over his border policy which has increasingly come under the scanner as waves of migrants have throned the southern border leading to a humanitarian crisis.
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The president’s words were uttered in reference to Republicans’ claims that the surge of migrants happened because the incumbent president rolled back some of Trump’s stricter policies and tried to project himself as someone more ‘humane’. But according to Biden, he was dealing with a broken immigration system he inherited from his predecessor.
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“He (Trump) dismantled all the elements that exist to deal with what has been a problem and has continued to be a problem for a long time,” Biden said, adding: “In fact, he shut down the number of beds available.” The Democrat also reiterated that it is Trump who should be blamed for the increasing number of migrants trying to gain entry into the US as his administration struggles to manage things at the border. A couple of weeks ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also slammed the previous Trump administration saying Biden "inherited a broken system at the border".
“Does anybody suggest there was a 31% increase under Trump because he was a nice guy and he was doing good things at the border? That’s not the reason they are coming. The reason they are coming is that it’s the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat and the desert, number one. Number two, they are coming because of the circumstances in-country,” the president said.
Biden faced a number of questions over the surge in the number of migrants aiming to sneak into the US. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has already said that the US is set to see the highest number of migrant arrivals in 20 years but yet, the Biden administration has not called it a crisis brewing at the border. Biden said at the end of his press conference: “I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we’re going to make it better.”
The president, who fielded questions from a number of media outlets, was grilled on a number of topics besides immigration, including the Senate filibuster, his 2024 re-election plans, Afghanistan and working with the Republicans. No question was asked on the coronavirus pandemic though.