Jacob Soboroff is an NBC reporter who covers the border. He doesn’t work for the Biden administration but he might as well be. Today he appeared on the View where he once again offered a list of excuses for the crisis at the border and failed to point out anything that might lead listeners to decide the Biden administration is doing a less than stellar job so far. This is frankly a whitewash from start to finish.
The full clip is six minutes long, so let’s walk through a few things Soboroff says here. First of all Whoopi Goldberg’s question was about as biased as it could be. “He’s getting a whole lot of flak for not having the entire border situation figured out and on point. Do you think that it’s a little unrealistic for folks to expect that he’s going to have all the answers, especially since he’s cleaning up yet another mess left by the guy from before? Or should they have been more prepared?” she asked.
Soboroff replied, “It is unrealistic.” He then went into a filibuster answer about Biden seeking to create a “fair and safe and humane and orderly” process “after four years of the cruelty of the Trump administration.”
What Soboroff doesn’t tell the audience is what the Washington Post reported over the weekend. The Biden administration was warned this would happen and still went ahead and made the situation worse:
The warnings began before Biden even took office.
During the transition period, career officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection tried to issue sober alarms to the Biden team about the likelihood of a crisis at the border that could quickly overwhelm the nation’s capacity. Senior CBP officials delivered Zoom briefings to the Biden transition team that included modeling projections showing a steep increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors if Trump’s policies were suddenly lifted, according to one current and two former Department of Homeland Security officials…
“It’s one thing to hear it from political appointees, but career folks were telling them the same thing. They should have been better prepared,” Wolf said. “And I know they were briefed in detail by CBP.”
Biden transition officials understood the risks, as well, identifying a surge of unaccompanied minors and a dearth of shelter space exacerbated by the pandemic as the most pressing problems.
Yet Biden immediately embarked on an aggressive strategy to roll back Trump administration policies.
Ask yourself why Soboroff isn’t telling the View’s audience about that?
Also note how Soboroff frames the current crisis: “That, really logistical challenge, which has caused a back up in border patrol stations cause the kids can’t get to the child welfare professionals in the office of refugee resettlement fast enough, that has created, yet again, another humanitarian crisis, like we saw under President Obama. Like we saw under President Trump, worse than ever before and on purpose because of the separation policy and now here we are again under President Biden.”
Anyone listening to that would probably assume the situation was more dire under the Trump administration than it is now. But that’s not true. Things are currently on track for a record year at the border. Again this is from the Post:
Now, the Biden administration is scrambling to control the biggest surge in 20 years, with the nation on pace for as many as 2 million migrants at the southern border this year — the outcome Biden said he wanted to avoid…
There are now more than 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and 5,000 more in the care of Customs and Border Protection, nearly twice the previous record, according to the latest figures obtained by The Washington Post.
Border Patrol hasn’t released the UAC numbers for March yet, but when it does those numbers will likely set a new monthly record. Again, why isn’t Jacob Soboroff telling the audience that right now is looking like the worst this situation has ever been. Anyone listening to this clip would probably conclude the situation is bad but not as bad as it was under the Trump administration.
Here’s the next question from another View co-host, Sarah Haines: “Republicans have seized on the recent uptick of border crossings as a major failure of the new administration. Numbers were already on the rise through the last nine months of Trump’s administration. So what exactly has changed since Biden took over and how has that contributed to the current spike we’re seeing?”
The Republicans seized language is just a classic at this point. Any bad news for Democrats is always politicized in this way. It’s not the Biden administration failing to deal with reality, it’s Republicans being mean that’s the problem.
As for the claim that the numbers were rising during the Trump administration, that’s true but also extremely misleading. So much so that the NY Times did a fact check on it:
Border Patrol agents encountered unaccompanied children at the southwestern border 741 times in April 2020, the lowest monthly level in a decade. That number did gradually increase over the last few months of Mr. Trump’s presidency. But in February, Border Patrol agents recorded more than 9,400 encounters with unaccompanied children, a 61 percent increase since January, a 170 percent increase from February 2020 and the highest number since May 2019.
The reason we’re talking about a crisis now is not because of the gradual increases under Trump, but because of the sharp increase under Biden. We went from 5,858 encounters with unaccompanied minors in January to 9,457 in February. That’s the issue. Rather than point this out, Soboroff praised Haines for making “a really great point.”
This entire clip is a litany of errors and missed opportunities to tell people what is really happening at the border: We’re setting new records of unaccompanied minors at the border. The Biden administration was warned this could happen ahead of time if it rolled back Trump’s border efforts. Also, there’s no end in sight.
And finally, as to Soboroff’s claim that this will happen no matter what the Biden administration says, that’s also false. There’s good reason to think this is happening now because migrants know Biden is allowing their children into the country. As Soboroff’s own NBC colleagues reported last week, some parents are deciding to send their kids on alone because this is their chance to make it into the U.S. Of course he doesn’t mention that reporting either.
People seeking asylum won’t stop because a U.S. president says stern things like “don’t come.” Obama tried — didn’t work. Trump separated families — didn’t work. It won’t work for Biden. Deterrence and punishment do not work. Thanks @TheView for having me. pic.twitter.com/ndW7lOHJS8
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) March 22, 2021