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Tipsheet

Psaki Defends Biden Calling for the Border to Be Secured During the SOTU

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden's call to secure the southern border during his State of the Union this week because it is "consistent" with his approach to the issue.

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Biden said on Tuesday the U.S. needs to fix its immigration system and have a secure border, though the immigration crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border escalated started shortly after his administration came into power and has continued since.

On Thursday, a reporter pointed out to Psaki that Biden wanted to address the "root causes" of the historic influx of illegal immigration in a speech last year. Psaki responded by saying that Congress needs to pass an immigration bill Biden proposed to them.

"No, I would say first the bill that the President proposed on his first day in office included smarter security and border protection, and also it included a more humane path for migrants entering the country," Psaki said. "Both of those remain priorities for the president. He believes the immigration system is broken. It is long overdue to fix it. He also believes that addressing the root causes is one of the central steps we need to remain focused on, even as we try to address the current circumstances at the border."

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"He has been criticized heavily by Republicans and by certain folks on, you know, how he has handled immigration at the border," the reporter replied.

"That's part of his bill that he proposed. It is consistent with his policies," said Psaki.

Psaki also refused to say whether Title 42, which quickly expels illegal immigrants due to COVID-19, will be completely removed is up to the Centers for Disease Control. Under the Trump administration, Title 42 applied to all who were caught by Border Patrol. But under the Biden administration, it has been more selectively enforced.

During Biden's time as president, Border Patrol has encountered more than two million illegal immigrants with hundreds of thousands more "got-aways" that successfully avoid apprehension. 

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