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Biden administration needs to acknowledge border 'crisis,' former Trump and Obama immigration official warns

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Former Trump and Obama-era immigration official Ronald Vitiello blasted the Biden administration’s illegal immigration policy Monday, amid a surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

On “America’s Newsroom,” Vitiello called what’s happening at the border “completely predictable” and a “big mistake” after the Biden administration rolled back Trump-era migrant protection protocols. The former acting ICE director also questioned how the Biden administration is going to fix the surge when they won’t call it a “crisis.”

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RONALD VITIELLO: They’re going to see what happens when you take all of the tools that prevent this kind of surge at the border with children alone or families coming with children, they’re going to see the results of the reversal of those policies that were keeping surges like this from happening. The migrant protection protocols allowed people to have their due process in immigration court and then their asylum claim, and they could wait in Mexico to do that. And what happened when they waited in Mexico?

They didn’t call back home and ask all of their cousins, their aunts there, uncles and their friends to come to the border. But now you reverse that… if there was a child or they’re a child alone, they’re going to be — the child is going to be turned over to HHS, then released to family members in the US. And the families that come with children are just going to be released right there at the border. So this is completely predictable. And to say that it’s not a crisis, but then yet call out the Emergency Management Agency to handle it, helps CBP handle it. Those don’t jive.  

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This is a hands-on job there in small spaces with these people, these people, as they’re smuggled, they’re in tractor-trailers, they get stuck in stash houses, and then our agents and officers have to deal with them. They have to go hands-on with them face-to-face in the processing center before they can move down the line in the system… they can’t Skype this work. This has to be done face to face. And then these people have to come and go back and forth to work and go be with their families after.

So they’re at risk because of what the job is.  And then you add on top of that the pandemic. It makes it even more frustrating, all because this could have been prevented. This could have been a line for — they could have had these resources in place before they rolled back these policies. It’s a big mistake. And for them not to call it a crisis is a concern, because how are you going to fix it if you don’t think it’s a problem?

Watch the interview.

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