During President Biden’s first press conference, he was asked about the influx of migrant children crossing the southern border. He talked about what his administration would do to address why people leave countries in Central America in the first place.
JOE BIDEN: The idea that I'm going to say, which I would never do, if an unaccompanied child ends up at the border, we're just going to let them starve to death and stay on the other side. No previous administration did that either, except Trump. I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to do it. That's why I've asked the Vice President of the United States yesterday to be the lead person on dealing with, focusing on the fundamental reasons why people leave Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador in the first place.
It's because of earthquakes, floods. It's because of lack of food. It's because of gang violence. It's because of a whole range of things, that when I was Vice President had the same obligation to deal with, unaccompanied children, I was able to get it slowed up significantly by working with the heads of state of those communities, to do things, like in one of the major cities, reason people were leaving is they couldn't walk the street because they were getting, their kids were getting beat up, or shot, or gang violence. Well, what I was able to do is not give money to the head of state because so many are corrupt.
But I was able to say, OK, you need lighting in the streets to change things, I'll put the lighting in. We got a contractor. We got the type of lighting. We paid directly the contractor, did not go through the government. And violent crime significantly was reduced in that city. Fewer people sought to leave. When this hurricane occurred, the two hurricanes, instead of us going down and helping in a major way so that people would not have a reason to want to leave in the first place because they didn't have housing or water or sustenance, we did nothing.
We're going to do a lot in our administration. We're going to be spending that $700 plus million a year to change the life and circumstances of why people leave in the first place.