Friction between the Biden White House and senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security over how to handle immigration is mounting, according to internal documents and communications reviewed by NBC News, as the number of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border keeps rising and Republican governors send migrants to more Democratic-run cities.
Homeland Security officials have expressed frustration among themselves that Republicans are sending migrants to cities in an effort to sow chaos and shape the national conversation on immigration, while White House officials have stalled DHS initiatives to send migrants to cities inside the country in a more organized manner, according to internal communications.
The discussions come as the number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is nearing 8,000 per day, according to data obtained by NBC News. White House officials have previously set 9,000 per day as an internal trigger to begin what they refer to as “interior processing,” where migrants are flown or bused from the border to interior cities where shelters can take care of them as they await reunification with family members and eventually their dates in immigration court.
But in recent meetings between Homeland Security officials and the White House, some DHS officials have advocated that the administration should start securing planes and planning for interior processing now, according to documents obtained by NBC News.
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The White House, DHS and Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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