Graham on border crisis: When Biden team says 'this is a Trump problem, they're lying'

Speaking at the border, Graham says the Biden transition team was aware that rescinding Trump's border policies could cause a migration crisis: 'This is a problem of their own making'

Published: March 26, 2021 6:14pm

Updated: March 27, 2021 11:30pm

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the ranking member of the Budget Committee, said the Biden administration was briefed by border security experts about the danger of rescinding former President Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy but followed through on doing so anyway.

The policy, also referred to as the Migration Protection Protocols, required asylum seekers stopped at the border to remain in Mexico while they wait for the U.S. immigration court hearing.

"They knew. If the Trump administration had been told something, and they did the opposite, and it blew up in their face, everybody would be asking the Trump administration, what did you know and when did you know it? So I'm going to help you here with your reporting," Graham said during a press conference at the border alongside other GOP senators on Friday.

"Mr. Hastings, who's a two star Border Patrol leader, told us that he briefed transition members of the Biden administration as to what would happen if you do away with the 'Remain in Mexico' policy. He told us they briefed the Biden administration on what would happen if you change the Title 42 laws to allow unaccompanied children to come here and not be sent back home. Everything they said would happen happened," he added.

Graham vowed to find out who Hastings talked to on the Biden team and "memorialize that conversation and hold them accountable because they knew." Graham said Biden encouraged even more illegal immigration at his first news conference as president on Thursday.

"And when they say this is a Trump problem, they're lying. This is a problem of their own making. What else have I learned? That Joe Biden, the president, made the problem worse yesterday. This was a nightmare press conference. He told everybody, don't worry, we've got crowded facilities. We're gonna build 5,000 more beds in Texas, at a military base," Graham said.

"So how does that play in Central America? They're going to expand the number of people they can take. He said when a child has a phone number on their wrist, we're going call the family member and unite that family. This is uniting illegal immigration," he added.

Graham argued that the Biden administration is causing more human trafficking by changing the Trump-era border enforcement policies. He held up a chart showing that apprehensions at the border were dropping after the "Remain in Mexico" policy went into effect.

"So the last thing I learned is that we're complicit as a nation in human trafficking. What did we learn last night? There's a trail on our side of the border with markers placed by the federal government to show illegal immigrants where to go. That we're transporting people who pay to get here, the last mile with your taxpayer dollar," Graham said. "It's costing about $800 a day per child."

Sen. Ron Johnson, former ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, referred to the arrows the lawmakers saw directing migrants who cross the border as the "Biden arrow."

Graham called on Vice President Kamala Harris to come to the border to see the situation up close and end the "pull factors" that encourage undocumented immigrants to make the dangerous trek to the U.S. border.

"If we don't change the pull factors, go back to the 'Remain in Mexico' policy where they can't apply for asylum here, send the unaccompanied minor children back to their home country, there will be 250,000 people a month coming. The Border Patrol said there is no end of this," he said. "So Vice President Harris, this is your job to fix. I promise you I will work with you but you cannot possibly understand your job unless you come here."

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