Lawmakers blame opposing parties over border surge

Lawmakers blame opposing parties over border surge
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Senators from opposing parties dueled Sunday over who was to blame for a surge of migrant border crossings and apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border as the administration faces growing questions about overcapacity shelters currently housing hundreds of children.

Sens. Bill CassidyBill CassidyUtah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote Amazon blocks 10B listings in crackdown on counterfeits Cassidy on pipeline cyberattack: Congress must equip businesses with defenses against incursions MORE (R-La.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyKabul attack spurs fears over fate of Afghan women as US exits Sen. Murphy calls for Yemen's Houthis to accept ceasefire following trip to Middle East US, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks MORE (D-Conn.) appeared on "Fox News Sunday," where the two traded barbs over whether President BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE deserves blame for a increase in migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, at the border in the first two months of his presidency.

Cassidy contended that Biden was "entirely" at fault for the issue, claiming that the administration's immigration officials were saying one thing about the border being closed in English while another in Spanish to prospective migrants giving them the green light.

"When people think they can get in, they begin sending their unaccompanied child across Mexico, where she may be kidnapped and trafficked," he said, while also blaming Biden for ending the Trump administration's "remain in Mexico" policy, which forced thousands to stay across the border awaiting judgement on their cases.

"You can't help but notice that the administration changes and there is a surge," he added.

Murphy countered moments later during his own interview that a surge in migration had begun last fall, during former President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE's last months in office, and noted that an 11-year-high in undocumented migration occurred during the Trump administration as well.

"The surge at the border began last fall, in the last four months of Donald Trump’s presidency there was an 80 percent surge in apprehensions at the border," Murphy said, adding: "This idea that it’s Joe Biden’s election that caused people to show up is belied by the actual facts."

Murphy went on to contend that conditions in Central American countries were primarily driving northward migration, echoing calls from some House Democrats to include programs aimed at improving underlying issues of instability and corruption throughout Central America in any upcoming immigration legislation.

"It isn’t the policy of the U.S. that drives immigration, it’s the desperation [of migrants]," he said.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Job openings jump to record high of 8.1 million | Wyden opposes gas tax hike | Airlines feel fuel crunch Pelosi: House Democrats want to make child tax credit expansion permanent Pelosi announces change to House floor mask rules MORE (D-Calif.) also defended the handling of the situation by the White House, which she called a "humanitarian challenge."

“What the administration has inherited is a broken system at the border, and they are working to correct that in the children's interest,” she said, before praising Biden's decision to direct FEMA to the border to assist with housing migrants.

House Democrats unveiled a bill this month that would extend a path to citizenship to about 2.5 million DREAM Act beneficiaries, while the president has indicated his support for a wider reform package that would offer such a path to millions of more undocumented immigrants, a prospect that is likely to face sharp resistance from GOP immigration hardliners.