As the Biden administration comes under fire from conservatives over an increase in migrant families and unaccompanied children at the U.S. southern border, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the “worse is yet to come” unless a controversial Trump-era policy is reinstated.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed the state’s military force, the Texas Guard, after he said an ‘overwhelming number of people’ had arrived at the state’s border with Mexico, describing the situation as a “crisis”.
Meanwhile, images of migrants at the San Ysidro port of passage in Tijuana, Baja California, add stress to President Joe Biden, who has pledged to reverse the immigration policies of his predecessor Donald Trump.
Graham told Fox News he expects the number of people traveling through Central America to increase in the coming months.
“Until they revert to the ‘Stay in Mexico’ policy, the worst is yet to come,” he said. Hannityreferring to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program which forced migrants to wait in the neighboring country of the United States while their asylum applications were processed.
The policy introduced by Trump, which Biden rescinded, had been targeted by rights groups, who said it violated US asylum laws and forced migrants to wait months or years in conditions sordid and often dangerous.
But Graham expressed concern about the number of “unaccompanied minors” entering the United States, telling the Hannity anchor “when Trump was president, minors were sent back either to Mexico or to their country of origin, they all stay in America.”
As of March 8, a record 3,200 children were detained in US immigration centers.
Graham continued, “In late spring, early summer, you’re going to have families coming in trailers because the word got out in Central America, they’re changing the policy that Trump has put in place.
“That if you get to the border, you surrender, you’re going to stay in America, not Mexico,” he said.
Graham went on to say that the number of migrants is a “humanitarian crisis” that could turn into “a national security crisis”.
“Al-Qaeda and ISIS would love nothing more than to strike us again…to show that they are still alive and well.
“This border insecurity is a great way for terrorists to enter our country,” he added.
Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.
On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki denied there was a crisis at the border, telling a press conference: “I don’t think we should sit here and put new labels on what we have already passed on is a challenge.”
She said her administration would continue to discourage people from going to the border and that “the majority” who did “would be turned away”.
Regarding unaccompanied children allowed to enter, Psaki said “it was a political decision that we took because we felt it was the most humane approach to deal with the very difficult circumstances in the region.
“And that means more children – children under 18, of course – crossing the border,” she added.
The graph below provided by Statistical indicates the number of people granted asylum in the United States