A Brazilian man who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border said President Biden’s immigration policies spurred his decision to cross the border.
“The main thing was the violence in my country, and the second thing I think was Joe Biden. You know, it’s like it lightened up my hope, you know what I mean?” the Brazilian man, who traveled to Mexico with his wife and three children, told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.
The man, who asked not to be identified, said he “definitely” wouldn’t have tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border when former President Donald Trump was in office.
“We had the chance, you know, but the same violence going on today was there last year. We used to watch the news, and I definitely (wouldn’t) do this,” he said.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also urged Biden during the same ABC segment to collaborate with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to stop the flow of migrants and use his “microphone” to tell migrants not to cross illegally in the United States.
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Cochise County, Arizona, which sits on the border in the southeastern area of the state, is part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Tucson sector, which has seen a surge of illegal crossings. In February 2020, Border Patrol encountered 17,255 single adults in that sector. That number rose to 52,795 for the same month in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 206%.
The sector also saw a 45% increase in unaccompanied children.
“The message, it has changed, and the message is that this border is open for business and you can come across. And if you get across, there will be no consequences. That’s the message we hear,” Cochise County, Arizona, Sheriff Mark Dannels said.
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The Biden administration reversed the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, popularly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced illegal immigrants to stay in Mexico until their immigration hearings. The policy was initially applied to family groups and single adults but was expanded to minor children in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration has been struggling to cope with the surge of migrants, with federal agencies erecting “soft-sided” facilities and opening centers to house unaccompanied minors. The administration also signed an $86 million contract with a nonprofit organization to house migrants in hotel rooms.