El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D) on Sunday said the crisis at the border is an "enormous challenge" that the Biden administration is working to address. Her take on the number of unaccompanied minors flocking to the southern border directly contradicts her previous take on the Central American caravans making the same trek.
"What I called a 'crisis' was the government's response that created the inhumane conditions where we had families and small children outdoors, in triple-digit temperatures, sleeping on rocks. That was truly a humanitarian crisis," Escobar told CNN's Jake Tapper. "There is no doubt, Jake, that what we're seeing today is an enormous challenge and it's unacceptable but we also need to acknowledge the flow of humanity arriving at our front door never stopped. The Donald Trump administration didn't stop them and what we're seeing today is a direct consequence of four years of dismantling every system in place to address this with humanity and compassion."
According to Escobar, the number of people headed for the border began almost a year ago, in April 2020, which means it's not a result of President Joe Biden's immigration policies.
Amazingly enough, the congresswoman applauded the Biden administration's "progress" on addressing the border crisis, particularly when it comes to unaccompanied children.
"I want to offer context for just how impressive – this unacceptable, okay – but I want you to know how impressive the progress has been, even in this short period of time," she explained.
Before the COVID pandemic hit, Escobar said she talked to unaccompanied minors who had been in custody between three months and up to one year.
"The Biden administration has shaved down that time to be between 30 and 35 days in a shelter before they're able to get those kids to their families," she said.
Tapper pointed out that Mexican President Andres Obrador referred to Biden as the "migrant president," because of the Biden administration's lax immigration policies. Escobar retorted by saying those comments take away from the humanitarian issues.
Rep. Veronica Escobar says an influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border is “an enormous challenge and it’s unacceptable.”— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 14, 2021
“What we are seeing today is the consequence of four years of dismantling every system in place to address this with humanity and compassion.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/HtPRCmIHmP
What the congresswoman said, however, goes in direct conflict with what she said in 2019, when the Central American caravans were flocking to the southern border en masse.
"I do want to emphasize, this is a very dark period in American history. We should be judged by what we allow to happen on our watch," Escobar told CNN's Christianne Amanpour.
The congresswoman said, at the time, that conditions were unlikely to change unless the United States faced international pressure.
"What we ordinarily see is the United States being the sort of the moral, ethical leader across the globe. We are no longer that moral, ethical leader," the congresswoman said. " ... It is shocking to the conscience that we are at such a low point on our history in the United States of America and it's going to take Americans phoning their representatives, getting engaged, tapping into their outrage, but also tapping into their humanity to demand change."
How is this simply a "challenge" and not a crisis? FEMA was deployed, not to help out with the normal number of illegal border crossings, but to assist Border Patrol in the overwhelming number of unaccompanied minors that have come to the United States. This was in response to a Texas facility being more than 700 percent of capacity. That's after the CDC rolled back COVID restrictions, which kept capacity at roughly 50 percent. In a little over a week we went from one facility operating at 50 percent capacity to another operating at 700 percent capacity. Customs and Border Protection is so desperate for manpower along the southern border that DHS sent out an email asking employees to volunteer their time for menial tasks, which would free up Border Patrol agents.
Either it's inhumane for people to sleep on floors in holding facilities, packed like sardines, or it's not. Either it's inhumane for people to live in unsanitary conditions with one toilet and no shower, or it's not. That shouldn't change based on what political party the president belongs to.
If these conditions were dubbed a "dark time" in American history, then what's taking place today should also be considered the same. It shouldn't be brushed off as merely a "challenge."