The former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the “root cause” of the border crisis is not to be found in Northern Triangle countries, but in President Biden’s reversal of the immigration policies of his predecessor.
“Working with Guatemala, working with the Northern Triangle on governance and anti-corruption activities, that’s all well and good, but that’s not going to stop the surge that’s occurring on the border right now,” Ron Vitiello said during an interview Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
“We’ve encouraged people to send or bring their children to the border and the root cause of the chaos is the reversal of the policies,” he continued.
His comments came as Alejando Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, travels to Guatemala on Tuesday to meet with his counterparts “regarding shared priorities,” DHS said in a statement.
Biden began rolling back former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies within weeks of taking office in January.
He ended border wall construction, rescinded the “Remain in Mexico” policy that required asylum-seekers to wait out the process in their home countries and created a task force to examine family separations at the border — actions that have prompted hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to stream into the country.
The influx of illegal crossings into the US, especially of thousands of unaccompanied children, has overwhelmed government facilities, leaving the Biden administration struggling to respond to the crisis.
Vitiello said cartels are also benefiting from the chaos at the border.
“People who come up to the border and the people who are smuggled into the pipeline, they’re controlled by smugglers and cartels,” Vitiello said. “They’re the ones that are getting over because of this surge at the border.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, whom Biden tapped to lead the White House’s response to immigration, didn’t visit the border until 94 days after she was named the migration czar in March.
Before her trek to the border at the end of June, Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico to discuss the “root causes” of immigration.