- Republican critics say Biden's policies caused a sharp increase in migrants seeking to cross into the US illegally.
WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden urged migrants not to come to the United States on Tuesday, as criticism mounted over a surge in people arriving at the southern border with Mexico -- including thousands of unaccompanied children.
"Yes I can say quite clearly don't come over ... Don't leave your town or city or community," he said in an interview with ABC News, addressing the migrants.
Speaking hours after his head of homeland security defended the administration's imigration policies, Biden also shrugged off claims that his dismantling of former president Donald Trump's tough stance had encouraged the surge, pointing out that there had been similar surges in 2019 and 2020.
"The idea that Joe Biden said 'come' - I heard the other day that they're coming because I'm a nice guy... Here's the deal, they're not," he said.
On January 20, his first day in office, Biden scrapped several of Donald Trump's contentious immigration policies, including halting new construction of a border wall and proposing legislation to create a citizenship pathway for the nearly 11 million people living illegally in the US.
Republican critics say Biden's policies caused a sharp increase in migrants seeking to cross into the US illegally.
The president spoke a day after after top Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy visited the border in Texas with fellow Republican lawmakers and accused Biden of creating a "crisis."