The Biden administration has repeatedly championed its commitment to transparency, but won’t let reporters into facilities holding child immigrants near the U.S. border.
A growing surge of illegal border crossings, including a jump in unaccompanied minors, has led to intense scrutiny of the administration’s immigration policies. At the same time, reporters have clamored for access to facilities housing the child immigrants.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly stonewalled questions on when that access will be granted.
“We remain committed to doing that,” she told reporters at the White House in Washington on Wednesday.
The administration is working with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, which oversee the facilities, to arrange tours, while “respecting the privacy and, obviously, the health protocols required by COVID,” she said.
Pressed on why the administration itself also hasn’t released images from the facilities, Psaki added: “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 said they’d been denied requests to ride along with Border Patrol agents. Psaki deferred questioning on the matter.
“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 said.
The Epoch Times recently traveled with Border Patrol agents in Texas as they apprehended illegal immigrants.
The Biden administration’s reversal of key Trump era policies has driven the surge in illegal immigrants, according to experts, Republican lawmakers, and some Democrats. Among the reversals: ending Trump’s remain in Mexico policy and allowing unaccompanied minors to stay in the country, even amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Psaki defended the policies, saying, “We decided that we will be more humane about how we approach this” and that it will take time to deal with the higher 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 said.
Asked if that amounted to incentivizing parents to send their kids across the border alone, Psaki pointed to how President Joe Biden said this week that people should not cross 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 said.
“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.”