The Biden administration’s lax and inconsistent border policies are to blame for the staggering increase in migrant deaths in 2021, The Washington Post’s editorial board charged Monday.
At least 650 people died attempting to cross the border this year, more than any other year since the International Organization for Migration began documenting deaths in 2014.
The figure represents a 24% jump from the previous high of 524 posted in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While President Joe Biden "did pivot to a more humane approach," writes the Post, he did so "without also establishing orderly, controlled, predictable procedures governing admissions."
Nearly 45% of the 650-plus deaths are due to "unknown" circumstances and 135 (20%) are attributed to harsh environmental conditions and lack of proper essentials, according to the international agency.
Biden made big changes to U.S. immigration policy soon after taking office.
He ended the "remain in Mexico" program, which sent tens of thousands of asylum seekers to return to Mexico for an indefinite amount of time while their claims were processed, but then reinstated the policy earlier this month to address humanitarian concerns raised by both the Mexican and U.S. governments.
He stopped border construction and "did pivot to a more humane approach, but without also establishing orderly, controlled, predictable procedures governing admissions," according to the Post.
"The administration’s suite of inconsistent policies was received in Central America and other countries as a green light for migration, or at least a blinking yellow one," the editorial board writes.
"Illegal crossings spiked, and with them, the body count mounted."
Migrants leave their homes to flee terrible living standards, dysfunctional governance, daunting crime and violence and natural disasters, according to the Post.
"Those will not be erased quickly. In the meantime, though, the administration needs a more cogent stance at the border. Failing that, still more lives will be lost," writes the news outlet.
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