The Biden administration continues to face scrutiny for its handling of the migrant crisis it caused by openly declaring its support for open borders policies. Over the past few weeks, even members of the press who are normally friendly to the president are changing their tune.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace interviewed White House press secretary Jen Psaki on the lack of transparency coming from the Biden administration. During the conversation, he accused Biden of being less transparent than former President Donald Trump when it came to the situation at the border.
Wallace began by pointing out that despite President Biden saying that nothing has changed on the border his Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas stated that “we are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
“Well, Chris, first, factually, there was an increase of about 31 percent of people coming to the border during the final months of the Trump administration. There’s been about a 29 percent increase since President Biden took office.
But our focus is on solutions. This past week we reopen — or we opened I should say several facilities that will provide almost 7,000 beds so that we can move these children from the Border Patrol facilities into shelters. We’ve also taken steps to expedite processing at the border.”
Wallace, not convinced, pressed the issue, stating that “you can play with percentages, but in absolute numbers, these are record numbers.” He continued, noting that “there are now 18,000 unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody. There are new records being set, 500 to 800 each day.”
Psaki answered by using her usual tactic, deflecting to Trump:
“Well, Chris, our objective is to take a different approach from the last administration. We are not going to send children under the age of 18, kids under the age of 18, back on this treacherous journey. They are fleeing challenging economic circumstances, hurricanes, prosecution in some scenarios.
It does not mean that they get to stay in the United States. It means their cases are adjudicated and we want to treat them humanely, make sure they are in a safe place while their cases are adjudicated. That’s what we’re talking about here.”
The Fox News host then turned to the administration’s refusal to be transparent with members of the press when it comes to the conditions in which unaccompanied minors are being kept by Border Patrol. He asked: “Why not allow reporters and camera crews in on a pool basis safely, to take pictures and show the American people what’s happening in those Border Patrol facilities right now?”
Psaki replied, “Chris, we’re absolutely committed to that, the president is committed to that, I’m committed to that, Secretary Mayorkas is committed to that.”
She continued, noting that the White House was “providing footage to Fox News just last week into the shelters” and that “but we — we are absolutely committed to transparency and providing access to media to the Border Patrol facilities and we’re working to get that done as soon as we can.”
Wallace corrected Psaki, stating that they allowed a camera crew to see facilities maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, not the areas where Border Patrol was keeping migrants. “They are not allowed to be there for more than 72 hours, many of them are there for ten days,” the host pointed out.
“At this point, in terms of allowing access to Border Patrol facilities for reports, you are being less transparent than the Trump administration,” Wallace added.
Psaki circled back to using Trump as a distraction:
“Well, first of all, Chris, the Trump administration was turning away kids at the border, sending them back on the treacherous journey, or they were ripping kids from the arms of their parents.
We’re not doing that. We are committed to allowing cameras into the Border Patrol facilities, absolutely.”
She insisted that the Biden administration agrees that “these are not places for children, and our focus is on solutions and moving them as quickly as possible.”
Every day that goes by, the migrant crisis worsens and it becomes more apparent that the Biden administration is not up to the task of dealing with the problem. It is uncertain how much longer this will go on, but this situation has already become a dark stain on the Biden presidency. The question is, will it provide an opportunity for the GOP in 2022 and 2024?
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