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Secretary of State Antony Blinken has defended the Biden administration’s efforts to reform immigration policy in the face of an increase in the number of undocumented migrants at the border with Mexico in an interview with “60 Minutes” broadcast on Sunday.

President Joe Biden has been in office for just over 100 days, during which time the number of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border has skyrocketed. In March alone, 170,000 people were arrested by US officials, the highest number in nearly two decades.

Republicans blame Biden’s efforts to quash ex-President Donald Trump’s sweeping immigration policy, saying the reforms have encouraged people to flee their Central and South American homes to the United States. United, but these characterizations largely ignore the ongoing crises in the countries fueling the exodus, according to experts.

Blinken echoed those sentiments, saying the president has repeatedly said the border is closed as the country moves to change the way it treats migrants and asylum seekers.

“What we are seeing is indeed an influx of people at the border,” Blinken told “60 Minutes” host Norah O’Donnell. “We have seen this in the past. But we inherited a totally broken system. Broken intentionally. And it takes time to fix it. By the way, our message is very clear: “Don’t come. The border is not open. You will not enter. ”

He continued, “But we have to understand what motivates so many people to do this. And it’s usually desperation.

Blinken decided in February to deter migrants, saying the border was “closed” to undocumented migrants as the administration worked to reform the system and ensure “safe, orderly and humane treatment at our border.” But the number of migrants, especially unaccompanied children, continued to increase.

Biden has faced harsh criticism after learning that thousands of migrant children were in border shelters during his first weeks on duty. The number of children incarcerated by the border patrol has fallen by more than 80% over the past month.

O’Donnell lobbied Blinken over the dramatic increase in the number of migrant children at the border, asking if Biden’s policies allowing more asylum seekers to seek protection in the United States had helped. Blinken said regardless of the cause, the Biden administration would continue to allow children into the country.

“Children are the only exception because we won’t do it – it’s the right thing to do,” Blinken said. “We are not going to accept the idea that children are kept in a precarious and dangerous situation. This is unacceptable. “

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