By BEN GITTLESON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday that his message to migrants is “Don’t come over.”
Amid a surge of migrants and unaccompanied minors on the U.S. southern border, Stephanopoulos asked the president, “Do you have to say quite clearly, ‘Don’t come’?”
“Yes, I can say quite clearly: Don’t come over,” Biden said during the wide-ranging interview in Darby, Pennsylvania.
“Don’t leave your town or city or community,” he added.
The number of unaccompanied teens and children who have been taken into U.S. custody along the U.S.-Mexico border has shot up in recent weeks, as the number of migrants attempting to cross into the country increases.
Republicans have said Biden’s moves to rescind former President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies have encouraged migrants to come to the United States, but Biden told ABC News that “we’re sending back people” who cross the border.
Stephanopoulos asked Biden: “Was “a mistake not to anticipate this surge?”
“First of all, there was a surge in the last two years,” the president said. “In ’19 and ’20, there was a surge, as well.”
Stephanopoulos noted, “This one might be worse,” and Biden acknowledged, “Well, it could be.”
“The idea that Joe Biden said, ‘Come’ — because I heard the other day that they’re coming because they know I’m a nice guy,” Biden said.
“Here’s the deal, they’re not,” he said.
Biden spoke with ABC News during a visit to the Philadelphia suburbs to promote the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill he signed into law last week.
Watch more of the interview with President Joe Biden on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, March 17, at 7 a.m. EDT.
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