White House Press Secretary Pressed to Explain Difference Between Trump and Biden Migrant Facilities for Kids
After being widely criticized for reopening a child migrant facility from the Trump era, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it was a “difficult choice” but the best option available.
President Joe Biden’s administration opened a facility for up to 700 migrant teens after they cross the border from Mexico to the United States without a parent. The first children came last Monday at Carrizo Springs, Texas, which was converted a couple of years ago into a migrant facility under former president Donald Trump, as per the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The facility had been closed since the summer of 2019.
“Is it kids in containers instead of kids in cages?” Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked the press secretary.
“We have a number of unaccompanied minors coming into the country without their families,” she answered. “What we are not doing is what the last administration did, which was separate those kids, rip them from the arms of their parents at the border.”
Peter Doocy just asked Jen Psaki why Biden is opening up cages for children at the border
— Caleb Hull (I'm With the CCP Don't Ban Me) (@CalebJHull) February 23, 2021
She added that there weren’t many good options on how to handle lone migrant kids: to send them back to Mexico is “dangerous”. To place them with families who have not been better is also not a good option. So instead, the administration decided to reopen the detainment centers.
Many children have been taken into migrant custody along the border recently, limiting the government’s options to house them.
The press secretary also noted that the new facilities had been opened to provide more space for social distancing. She said that the detainment facilities had been “revamped” and equipped with teachers as well as medics
Psaki was also asked about certain reports that hundreds of kids were detained by the Customs and Border Patrol in a temporary facility for more than 72 hours, which is the legal limit before they have to be moved to a housing facility. Psaki replied saying that there had been delays due to weather and limited capacity to care for the arrival of that many children.
“Some, unfortunately, did stay four days, five days or longer but the objective is to move them as quickly as possible to an HHS-sponsored facility.”
.@PDoocy: "Is it kids in containers instead of kids in cages?"@PressSec: "What we are not doing, what the last administration did, was separate those kids, rip them from the arms of their parents at the border. We are not doing that." pic.twitter.com/LkJdkRE2xh
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 24, 2021
Left-wing politicians criticized the new migrant facility.
“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., posted on Twitter Tuesday.
She also said:
“It’s only 2 mos into this admin & our fraught, unjust immigration system will not transform in that time. That’s why bold reimagination is so impt. DHS shouldn’t exist, agencies should be reorganized, ICE gotta go, ban for-profit detention, create climate refugee status & more.”
Joe Biden has previously said that his immigration plan will “take time” to implement in order to avoid the border being overwhelmed.
He has signed executive orders establishing a task force to reunite separated families and to begin a review of the Trump-era program that required migrants at the southern border to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims were processed.
Trump signed an order to stop family separations in 2018.
See the heated exchange between Peter Doocy and Jen Psaki in the video below.
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