In an interview on Fox News, White House press secretary Psaki faced questions about the lack of access to border facilities in the midst of a surge of illegal immigration. She said that President Joe Biden is “absolutely committed” to allowing reporters and photographers near the facilities.
“We are committed to allowing cameras into Border Patrol facilities,” she added, responding to a claim from Fox News’ Chris Wallace that Biden’s administration is being “less transparent than the Trump administration.”
“We want to provide access into the Border Patrol facilities,” Psaki said. “We are mindful that we are in the middle of the pandemic, we want to keep the kids safe, we want to keep the staff safe.”
The administration let a single reporter and camera crew into a federally-run facility in Texas on March 24.
Psaki did not say when more media members would be given access to the Border Patrol facilities.
“What we’re really talking about is children, and we’re handling that in the most humane … way,” Psaki continued. She said of unaccompanied minors who were held by Border Patrol and [Health and Human Services]: “It does not mean they get to stay in the United States, it means their cases are adjudicated.”
Psaki further stated that the Biden administration is trying to “take a different approach than the last administration,” in how unaccompanied minors—children who unlawfully enter the country without an adult—are being handled along the border.
This month, several members of the media complained that they were denied access to the border. Among them, Getty photographer John Moore described the lack of access as “unprecedented” and called on the Biden administration to resume access to the facilities.
“I respectfully ask US Customs and Border Protection to stop blocking media access to their border operations,” Moore wrote earlier this month. “I have photographed CBP under Bush, Obama and Trump but now—zero access is granted to media. These long lens images taken from the Mexican side.”
Republicans have said that Biden’s policies, including a slew of immigration-executive orders, has led to a spike in illegal immigration, while Biden—during his first news conference last week—said the surge appears to be routine and suggested it is comparable to previous years.
However, the policies have led to a sharp increase in illegal crossings at the border, with over 100,000 recorded in February alone, experts have told The Epoch Times. The influx of unaccompanied minors, in particular, has prompted federal officials to open or convert at least eight facilities to hold them, including three convention centers.
Former President Donald Trump voiced his disapproval for Biden’s policies over the weekend, saying he might possibly visit the border in the future.
“They want me there, they’ve asked me to go, and I really sort of feel I owe it to them. They’re great people, they’re doing an incredible job. It’s impossible now with what [the Biden administration has] done,” he told Fox News Saturday.
Trump added, “I don’t know what they’re doing, and they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s a very, very dangerous situation. I’d love not to be involved. Somebody else is supposed to be doing it.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.