How the Biden administration could fix the immigrant border crisis

Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum, discusses the surge of migrant children at the border.
5:20 | 04/12/21

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Transcript for How the Biden administration could fix the immigrant border crisis
Welcome back to "Gma3." The Biden administration is continuing to grapple with the influx of migrants at the u.s./mexico border, recording over 172,000 migrant arrests or encounters in March alone, nearly 19,000 of them unaccompanied children and teenagers. That is double the amount of minors detained back in February, and the most ever recorded in a single month. So let's bring in the president and CEO of the national immigration forum, Ali Noorani, thank you so much for being with us. And yes, we have seen all of those heartbreaking images of what is happening at our southern border. We know a lot of them are turned away but the Biden administration is accepting children. What needs to happen? What needs to change? Well, what needs to happen is that the Biden administration needs to set up the infrastructure, the logistics and the processes, so that children can go through the process in a safe and humane way, and fortunately, the Biden administration is well on the path to achieving that. They started to co-host border protection and health and human service staff so that the initial intake goes quicker. They're standing up facilities in Texas and other places across the country. And then, most importantly, they're putting into place this system so that as children are, you know, receiving their initial interviews, being vetted by health and human services, that they're eventually being put in the care of either a legal guardian or a foster home so we are hoping that the process is really starting to pick up pace now. But, Ali, is there a pr problem? Is there a messaging problem coming from or not coming from the Biden administration? Because clearly, people are sending their children to the border, some cases alone, or in very dangerous conditions, thinking and knowing that they will be accepted. Well, I think the bigger problem here is that as a nation, for so long, we have in essence outsourced our immigration system to cartels. So what's happening when you're in Honduras, Guatemala, or el Salvador, is that the cartels of human smugglers are on the streets are in essence selling a lie to desperate families for anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000 a pop and with that lie, they're saying, that lie is more or less telling these families that the United States border is open. The Biden administration has spent considerable resources in a public education campaign in Central America, but remember, with the cartels, they're savvy, they're sophisticated, and they have a track record of getting people to the border, because again, congress has failed to fix the system. So the question is, how does, how do countries in central America, Mexico and the U.S. Disrupt these smuggling networks but do so in a way that protects the safety of these families. Day one in office, we heard from the Biden administration, they reversed the ban on Muslim immigration here into this country. How far has that gone? And what more needs to be done to rectify what went wrong before, in the former trump administration? Well, it was a great first step on that first day to eliminate that Muslim ban, yet the Biden administration has not moved forward with increasing the number of refugees that will resettle in the United States. In fact, just over the last few days, a new report by the international rescue community found that under the Biden administration, they have a, not increased the level of refugees to be resettled, B, that we're on track to resettle less than 5,000 refugees this year, keep in mind that there are over 80 million people who are displaced around the world, and third and most importantly, muslims are going to be disproportionately affected. In fact, under the Biden administration, only 42 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States. And that is, there's just no other way to put it other than it's just a moral failure on the part of the United States. And something that president Biden can fix with a one stroke of a pen. Ali, one of my favorite lines from Hamilton is "Immigrants, we get the job done." So we know that we have so many hard-working immigrant families who are small business owners in this country. Talk a little bit about what this pandemic has done to those businesses. Have they been more severely impacted than others? Well, immigrant-owned businesses employ over eight million workers across the country, and the majority of those workers are native-born American workers, they generate over $1 trillion in economic output. There's research just released I believe last fall that over a third of immigrant-owned businesses experienced a significant loss because of covid-19. We need to make sure that the administration, whether it's the Biden administration or even stable local governments are really reaching out to immigrant business owners who are really revitalizing the neighborhoods across the country that so depend on the infusion of energy and talent that comes with the immigrant community. So it has been a long road, just like it's been for all of us over the course of this pandemic, but fortunately, immigrants, whether they're business owners or workers, are standing shoulder to shoulder, with U.S. Citizens, to get our nation through covid-19. So yes, there's a lot that can be done, but I think ultimately, it will be the energy and the entrepreneurship of immigrants as well as those who have been here for generations. Well, president and CEO of the national immigration forum, Ali Noorani, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it. Some very interesting insights there. So we appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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