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Immigration activist weighs in on Biden's border plan

Joe Biden responded to the growing crisis at the border. He said the vast majority of people crossing are being sent back.

SAN DIEGO — President Joe Biden said the vast majority of people crossing at the border are being sent back. 

“We are trying to work out now with Mexico on their willingness to take more of those families back," Biden said. 

Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee contrasted with Biden's border approach, saying it was a missed opportunity to really lay out a much more progressive plan.

"I don't think that people should be sent back, especially if they are coming to the U.S. seeking asylum. The United States needs to abide by its international obligations of providing people an opportunity to file for asylum,  and that’s not happening,” Rios said.

Rios, a native San Diegan, who has been on AFSC’s staff for more than 15 years, said the Biden Administration should rescind Title 42 and ensure that people are brought in safely.

To accommodate the surge at the border, Biden said 5,000 beds are immediately available at Ft. Bliss in Texas.

"My hope is that the human rights of the children and of the families are considered, and that doesn’t always happen at government-run shelters,” Rios said.

Biden made it clear he did not think the influx at the border was due to him being a nice guy.

"It happens every single solitary year. There is a significant increase in the number of people doing to the border in the winter months,” Biden said.

Rios added that people are fleeing violence, and violence is not an issue with seasonality, it happens all year long along with climate change impacting farmers in Guatemala.

In Tijuana, at the U.S. Mexico border, asylum-seeking migrants rallied. Some held up signs saying "Let Us In!"

Researcher Dolores Harris at Tijuana's El Colegio de la Frontera Norte said, "It is just going to get worse. Let's hope both Mexican and U.S. governments can work together so they can give these people an answer so they're not waiting in these conditions.”

The surge of unaccompanied children arriving this month alone is expected to reach historic levels.

"You have an unaccompanied child [who] ends up at the border, we're just going to let them starve to death and stay on the other side? I'm not going to do it,” Biden said.

Rios said, "The Biden Administration has taken some small steps forward, but a lot more needs to be done to ensure that asylum is restored, and a lot more people aren’t placed into harm’s way.”

WATCH: Unaccompanied minors up at San Diego border, lags parts of Texas


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