Friction between White House, top DHS officials as migrant numbers soar

There is growing friction between senior officials at the Biden White House and the Department of Homeland Security over how to handle immigration, according to internal documents and communications reviewed by NBC News, as the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border continues to grow. and send Republican governors. Migrants to more democratically driven cities.

The White House has recently hosted a series of high-level meetings on immigration, where DHS officials presented options, including flying over the country’s northern border with Canada to ease congestion at the US-Mexico border. The filling involved expatriates, according to two US officials familiar discussions.

According to internal communications obtained by NBC News, some DHS officials have openly expressed dismay at those meetings with the White House’s reluctance to take a page from the Republican governors’ book and begin transporting migrants to cities within the US. .

Under a plan proposed by DHS, migrants would be sent to cities such as Los Angeles, where shelters would receive advance warning to give them time to prepare for an influx. The plan is designed to be less chaotic than what is happening now at Martha’s Vineyards in Washington, DC, New York, Chicago and Massachusetts. Officials in those places were surprised as Republican governors in Texas, Arizona and Florida have sent migrants north to make a political statement.

There has been talk of the number of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border approaching 8,000 per day, according to data obtained by NBC News.

White House officials have previously determined 9,000 per day as an internal trigger for what they refer to as “internal processing,” where migrants are sent or settled across the border to inner cities where shelters can take care of them. as they await a reunion with the family. members and eventually their dates in immigration court.

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But in recent meetings between Homeland Security officials and the White House, some DHS officials have advocated that the administration should begin planning the security and internal processing of planes, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

Homeland Security officials have expressed disappointment among Republicans sending migrants to cities to sow chaos and shape the national conversation on immigration, while White House officials are pushing migrants into the country in a more organized manner. The DHS initiative to send to the cities within the U.S. has been stopped. , according to internal communication.

Some areas of the border, meanwhile, have faced such high numbers of undocumented migrants in recent weeks that they have overwhelmed the resources of border patrols and local charities. For example, in El Paso, Texas, about 9,000 migrants have been released to bus stations because local shelters have no capacity to hold them until they can arrange for their own transportation. Typically, shelters work with migrants and their family members to see that their bus or plane tickets have been purchased and that they have the means and directions to reach their final destination in the US.

Covid restrictions under Title 42, which were imposed soon after the pandemic began in 2020, remain in place, and more than 1 million migrants have been deported to Mexico or their home countries. The most common nationality among recent arrivals to El Paso, however, is Venezuela. Venezuela has resisted taking back its migrants, and Mexico has been reluctant to accept Venezuelans expelled from the US, which leaves the US to decide about their fate.

The White House, DHS and Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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