An increasing surge of illegal border crossings, including a rise in unaccompanied minors, has pointed to serious scrutiny of the administration’s immigration policies. At the same time, reporters have clamored for entrance to facilities housing the child immigrants.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has regularly bypassed questions about when that access will be given.
“We remain committed to doing that,” she told reporters at the White House in Washington on Wednesday.
The administration is operating with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, which manage the facilities, to arrange tours, while “respecting the privacy and, obviously, the health protocols required by COVID,” she said.
Pushed on why the administration itself likewise hasn’t published images from the facilities, Psaki continued: “We remain committed to transparency. I don’t have an update for you on the timeline for access, but it’s certainly something we support.”
Some reporters announced they’d been dismissed requests to ride along with Border Patrol agents. Psaki deferred questioning on the subject.
“We fully support transparency, and I would encourage you to talk to the Department of Homeland Security about any requests you have for press access or what you’re looking to accomplish at the border,” she stated.
The Biden administration’s repeal of key Trump era methods has driven the rush in illegal immigrants, according to experts, Republican lawmakers, and some Democrats. Among the cancellations: ending Trump’s remain in Mexico policy and enabling unaccompanied minors to stay in the nation, even throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Psaki maintained the policies, announcing, “We decided that we will be more humane about how we approach this” and that it will take time to deal with the larger numbers of child immigrants.
“Our policy continues to be: We’re not going to send a 10-year-old back across the border. That was the policy of the last administration. That’s not our policy here,” she explained.
Questioned if that amounted to incentivizing parents to send their children across the border alone, Psaki pointed to how President Joe Biden announced this week that people should not pass the border into the United States.
“And he believes, as he talked about last night, that no parent is looking and just trying to make a bet on whether their kid can, kind of, make it,” she stated.
“This is a very difficult and treacherous journey. Most of these kids are fleeing very challenging circumstances. And his view is that there’s a number of steps we need to take and steps that he hopes he can work with Democrats and Republicans on. So that’s his goal.”