White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed Tuesday that the Biden administration has taken “unprecedented action” at the southern border amid record levels of migrant encounters in the southwestern United States.
“We had to fix something that was broken, especially by the last administration,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.
“We’ve made over 3,000 arrests as part of a first-of-its-kind anti-smuggling campaign. We’ve installed border technology and set up joint patrols with Mexico and Guatemala to catch traffickers,” she continued. “Compare that to the Trump administration, which largely just tried to build a wall, an ineffective wall, along the border and couldn’t even finish that in four years.”
There were more than 208,000 migrant encounters at the southern border in August, a slight decline from the 212,000 encounters that took place in July and about 13% lower than the all-time record of 240,000 encounters in May.
The 208,000 migrant encounters in August mark a 317% increase over August 2020, former President Donald Trump’s last year in office, and a 233% increase over August 2019.
There have already been more than two million border encounters so far this year, a record high.
Vice President Kamala Harris came under fire from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republicans this week after she claimed that the border is “secure.”
“I think that there is no question that we have to do what the president and I asked Congress to do, the first request we made: pass a bill to create a pathway to citizenship,” Harris told NBC News in an interview that aired Sunday.
“The border is secure, but we also have a broken immigration system, in particular, over the last four years before we came in, and it needs to be fixed.”
Gov. Abbott has been bussing migrants to cities with Democratic mayors in an effort to bring light to the migrant crisis.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, meanwhile, issued an executive order last month to fill gaps in the border wall, saying that the state “can’t wait any longer.”
Jean-Pierre blamed Republican lawmakers for voting against DHS funding that was included in a spending bill.
“We’re certainly doing a lot more to secure the border and could be doing even more if Republicans would stop their obstruction,” she said Tuesday.
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.