Vice President Kamala Harris ( Photo credit: Carlos Fyfe)

The Biden Administration official tells The Pavlovic Today that they’re taking a  “holistic” approach to immigration and the recent border numbers. 

The Biden administration official told The Pavlovic Today that they’re rebuilding the nation’s immigration system, “But people should not make the dangerous journey right now.”

The statement echoes Vice President Kamala Harris, who recently spoke in Guatemala and told hopeful migrants not to come to the U.S. She received pushback for the statement, but Harris later clarified that her goal is to focus on the root cause of immigration. 

The administration official said the cause of immigration has become the focus, especially as Harris travels the Northern triangle and focuses on factors that force people to leave their homes, like criminal organizations and natural disasters. 

Still, the Administration official outlined progress in current immigration policies.

During the Trump administration, immigration policy took a hit. Decisions like hiring freezes and a lack of a plan for future referral increases have left the Biden administration with what they call  “inherited challenges.” 

Despite that, the administration official said the Biden administration plans to take a “holistic” approach to the state of immigration.

Recent border numbers show that 180,034 persons attempted to cross the Southwest border in May of 2021, a slight increase from April, according to a recent release from Customs and Border Patrol.

Overall, though, the administration official said the number of encounters of Northern Triangle individuals has dropped. Encounters with family units have dropped by 31%, and encounters with unaccompanied children have fallen by 23%, according to CBP. 

The number of expulsions is higher during the pandemic, but the official said the 180k border crossing encounters are likely from repeat attempts. 

The administration official also named a number of immigration reforms, like updates to expedite criteria policies that allow people who need their immigration benefits processed quickly to do so. In an attempt to overcome COVID-19 processing delays, they’ve also implemented flexibilities in benefit applications and video interviews for naturalization. 

The administration official called on Congress to improve the situation by improving the visa system and passing funding requests for technology and infrastructure, as well as the Dream and Promise Act. 

The bill, if passed, would provide DACA recipients (or Dreamers) the opportunity to apply for permanent legal residence and eventual citizenship. 

The official still stressed the state of the asylum system after the Trump administration. “The asylum system was demolished and we had insufficient policies, procedures, and training in place to administer immigration laws.”