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The White House said the use of a border wall to stem migration into the United States “is not an effective policy,” despite an endorsement for the measure by President Joe Biden’s nominee to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“We feel that it is a policy that doesn’t work. And it’s not just us. Experts have said that the border wall is not an effective policy,” principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday, adding that she would need to read the nominee's remarks in context to comment.
During a confirmation hearing this week, Chris Magnus, the Tucson police chief nominated by Biden to lead CBP, said he supported resuming construction of the wall along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.
There are some places “where that could make sense,” Magnus said in response to a question from Montana GOP Sen. Steve Daines.
Federal authorities have faced a historic surge in people attempting to reach the country illegally.
During the 2021 fiscal year ending in September, officials detained 1.7 million migrants along the border, while Border Patrol arrests rose to the highest levels ever recorded, according to figures obtained by the Washington Post.
Magnus called the issue a “significant challenge.”
“The numbers are very high,” he said.
The numbers increased sharply soon after Biden took office when the president ceased construction on the border wall, halted the "Remain in Mexico" policy and actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and paused many deportations.
The administration blamed its predecessors for the spike, arguing that it resulted from pent-up demand and economic drivers.
“We continue to be very, very clear that no one should attempt to irregularly migrate here,” Jean-Pierre said Thursday, adding that the administration has continued to use a Trump-era public health rule known as Title 42 to rapidly expel people.
“It’s unsafe. It’s unlawful. It’s a public health risk, which is why we’re using Title 42,” Jean-Pierre said. “It’s a public health authority. Those attempting to come in irregularly will be subjected to border restriction, including Title 42.”
Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration has attempted to dissuade potential migrants aggressively. “We’ve been very clear, and we’ve been clear for the last 10 months,” she added.
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Original Author: Katherine Doyle