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Joe Biden’s border challenge: reversing Trumpism – podcast

When Joe Biden assumed the presidency earlier this year, he inherited an immigration policy from Donald Trump that was punitive and often criticised as excessively cruel. The 45th US president had unsuccessfully attempted to build a wall across the entire southern border and vilified migrants as “invaders”.

The Guardian’s Nina Lakhani tells Anushka Asthana that what she witnessed on the border in Texas was a steady influx of desperate people fleeing poverty, drought and violence. Many were families escaping together to what they hoped would be a new start.

But despite the new rhetoric from the White House and a relaxation of some of the harshest measures, migrants are still being detained and many sent straight back across the border.

Washington bureau chief David Smith describes the pressure Biden is under to respond to the issue. Democrats have called the situation a challenge and problem. Republicans have rushed to describe it as the first crisis and disaster of the new president’s term.

Officials say the number of people caught attempting to cross the US-Mexico border is on pace to hit its highest level for 20 years.

Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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