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Twenty Republican governors are calling on the Biden administration to take further action to address the crisis on the southern border as the issue of where to place the surge in unaccompanied children is affecting states. The governors describe the situation as “unacceptable and unsustainable”.
“The crisis is too big to ignore and is now spreading across the border states into all of our states,” read the letter to President Biden from governors from states such as South Dakota, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska and New Hampshire.
Officials at the border encountered more than 172,000 migrants in March, including a record number of unaccompanied children of more than 18,000. Similar numbers are expected for April and could increase in the summer months.
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The Biden government has touted its ability to empty overstretched border guards, where migrants were shown packed side by side in facilities. Critics have noted that only in many cases were migrants transferred to health and social care facilities (HHS). – where the numbers skyrocketed from 11,000 in March to 22,000 in May.
Governors say HHS is urging states to identify places of residence and bypass them by working with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and private organizations to accommodate them in their accommodations in those states.
“It is unacceptable and unsustainable to allow the federal government to bring a potentially unlimited number of unaccompanied migrant children into our state facilities for an indefinite period of time with near zero transparency,” they write. “We have neither the resources nor the obligation to solve the problem of the federal government and to pay the bill for the consequences of this government’s misguided actions.”
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The administration has highlighted the “root causes” of the crisis, such as poverty and violence in Central America, while also accusing the Trump administration of allegedly inadequate preparation for the surge in migration seen in the first few months of this year.
However, critics have pointed out that Biden has withdrawn key Trump policies and agreements such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPPs) that kept migrants in Mexico waiting for their hearings and asylum cooperation agreements with Northern Triangle countries. They have also accused the government of increasingly friendly rhetoric, which they believe has encouraged migrants to come north.
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“The cause of the border crisis lies entirely in the ruthless reversals of federal policy that were carried out within your first 100 days in office,” the letter said. “The rhetoric of the Biden government and the withdrawal of critical agreements with our allies have resulted in the inhuman treatment of tens of thousands of children and undermined a fragile immigration system.”
After also citing the increase in drugs seized across the border, the governors are calling on Biden to “take steps to end the humanitarian crisis and secure our southern border immediately”.
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The Republicans have increased the pressure on the government. While Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Guatemala and Mexico next month to address the root causes, Senator Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Took a similar trip last week – emphasizing what he called the urgency of the current situation.