Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with subsequent comments from the Biden White House.

President Joe Biden called the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border a “crisis” over the weekend, a word he and his administration have been reluctant to use.

Biden made his comments on Saturday when he spoke to reporters after playing golf at the Delaware Country Club.

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Biden Calls Border Situation A ‘Crisis’

Biden was asked about his reversal on raising former President Donald Trump’s limits on the number of refugees allowed into the U.S, and referred to the border “crisis.”

“The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people,” Biden told reporters.

“We couldn’t do two things at once,” the president added. “But now we are going to increase the number.”

Biden Officials Have Avoided Using Term ‘Crisis’

NBC News reported on April 2, “The number of unaccompanied children crossing the border in March reached more than 18,500, according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection data obtained by NBC News, smashing the previous record as the Biden administration scrambles to set up new shelters to accommodate them.”

“The March total is at least 60 percent higher than the previous record of 11,494 in May 2019,” NBC News noted. “The data is still preliminary and may change slightly before its official release.”

Biden had earlier denied that the increase of migrants coming to the Southern border was a crisis.

“No,” Biden told a reporter in March who asked the president if the border surge was a crisis.

“We’ll be able to handle it,” Biden said at the time. “God willing.”

Biden administration officials also denied it was a crisis.

When Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was asked if the border situation was a crisis, he replied, “I think the answer is no.”

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When a reporter pressed Mayorkas, he replied, “I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing, and we have our resources dedicated to managing it.”

The same month, in March, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the border problem a “crisis” and then corrected herself by then calling it “challenges on the border.” 

On Monday, a White House spokesman started walking back Biden’s comment that the situation is a ‘crisis.’

CNN reports that the spokesman told them, “Biden ‘was referring to the crisis in Central America — the dire circumstances so many are fleeing from. He was not referring to the Federal Government’s response.'”

Biden press secretary Jen Psaki echoed that explanation:

“The President does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crisis. He does feel that the crisis in Central America — the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from — that that is a situation we need to spend our time or effort on and we need to address it if we’re going to prevent more of an influx of migrants from coming in years to come.”

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