Pelosi says Biden approach to migrant crisis shows ‘love of children’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said that President Biden’s administration is demonstrating “love of children” in its immigration policy, amid a skyrocketing surge of unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border and crammed detention centers.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) stood by Biden’s handling of the crisis as new data indicate a five-fold increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the border in February. US officials relaxed COVID-19 protocols to pack more kids into temporary detention centers.

“I trust the Biden administration’s policy to be based on humanitarian and love of children rather than political points or red meat for their — for their Republican base,” Pelosi said at a press conference.

Pelosi added later: “I think the difference between this administration and one before is great in terms of how we meet the needs of these children, placing them as much as possible with family, but in other safe homes and in the meantime, to have a humanitarian reception for them wherever they are.”

Critics have slammed past Pelosi immigration remarks as tone-deaf, most notably when she objected to former President Donald Trump calling MS-13 gang members “animals.” She countered that all people have a “spark of divinity.”

In February, 29,792 unaccompanied children crossed the border without their parents, of whom 2,942 were under age 12, according to US Customs and Border Protection. That’s five times more than the 5,871 unaccompanied minors in January, which itself was an increase from 4,995 in December.

Republicans and left-wing Democrats have accused the Biden administration of hypocrisy for past criticism of Trump for putting “kids in cages,” saying that Biden has put “kids in containers.”

Pelosi said at her press conference that the Biden administration’s treatment of minors differs most notably from the Trump administration’s forced separation of family units pursuant to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ 2018 “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all illegal border crossings.

“What we saw in the Trump administration, of babies being snatched from the arms of their parents, to me as a mom and a grandmother, that to me is like the most vile — with stiff competition from the Trump administration — but one of the most vile things they did,” Pelosi said.

The White House has been on the defensive for weeks over whether Biden’s decision to relax Trump-era border policies created a “pull” factor for migrants, sparking the new border crisis.

Last month, Biden terminated Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy that required Central American asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while US courts reviewed their claims.

Biden halted construction of his predecessor’s Mexico border wall and issued an order affirming the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives work permits and protection from deportation to people brought illegally to the US as minors

Biden also proposed legislation to create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. House Democrats plan votes this month on bills to offer legal status to farm workers who currently lack government permission to work and to allow a path to citizenship to people brought illegally to the US as children.

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