The Biden administration launched a social media campaign to persuade migrants not to enter the US as his border crisis intensifies

The Biden administration launched a social media campaign to persuade migrants not to enter the US as his border crisis intensifies
Central American migrants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, watch President Joe Biden's inauguration on TV.HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Biden administration has launched a media campaign to stem migration from Central America.
  • It is placing thousands of targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, and on the radio.
  • Biden is struggling to cope with a surge in Central American migrants trying to enter the US.

President Joe Biden has launched a radio and social-media campaign to persuade people not to enter the US as part of a range of measures to stem the growing crisis at the US-Mexico border, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Monday press briefing.

"We've placed an estimated 17,118 radio ads in Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras since January 21st in Spanish, Portuguese, and six indigenous languages," Psaki said. "These ads played on 33 radio stations reaching an estimated 15 million individuals."

She continued: "The [State] department has also worked with Facebook and Instagram on an advertising campaign that put out - put our migration messages in the social media streams of millions of individuals who fit the profile of intending migrants. These are very targeted, of course."
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Other strategies introduced for reducing the number of undocumented migrants attempting to enter the US also include dispatching senior national-security officials to Mexico and Guatemala on Monday to seek those governments' help in tackling the issue, National Security Councils spokesperson Emily Horne said in a Monday release.

Administration officials said they were also devising alternative ways to apply for entry into the US without having to physically attempt to enter the country, Psaki said.

The number of undocumented migrants trying to enter the US across its southern border has significantly increased in recent weeks, with immigration authorities saying that 100,000 migrants attempted to enter the US in February.
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Many those attempting to enter are unaccompanied minors, with US authorities currently holding 14,000 of them in detention facilities.

Biden has drawn criticism from both the left and right over the situation, with progressive Democrats calling on Biden to establish a more humane migration system, and Republicans claiming that Biden's rollback of Trump-administration migration policies had encouraged the influx. Psaki told the Monday briefing that a total of 589 ads in "in paid search, display, and social media supporting the ongoing migration campaign in Northern Triangle countries" - referring to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador - had reached more than 26 million people since Inauguration Day, or January 20.
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When challenged by a reporter on whether the administration had data on the effectiveness of the ad campaign, Psaki responded: "It is difficult to note the people who do not come. That is never a number we will have a mark on. So this is just part of our effort to send a clear message."

Ambassador Roberta Jacobson is scheduled to travel to Mexico Monday "to engage with Mexican government officials to develop an effective and humane plan of action to manage migration," per the National Security Council statement.

She is to be joined by Juan Gonzalez, the US Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere, who is to then travel to Guatemala for talks with government officials and civil-society figures to "address root causes of migration in the region and build a more hopeful future in the region," the statement said.
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