Jen Psaki refuses to commit to increased border security despite smugglers dropping kids over border wall
Speaking at a press conference, the White House press secretary only spoke about the administration's concerns over such incidents
The Joe Biden administration has found itself under pressure over its immigration policy. After the new president gave signals that his times will see a less strict border unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, endless waves of migrants from Central American and far-off countries reached the southern border through Mexico, creating a big mess for Washington and Mexico City to handle. Consequently, the Biden administration was found taking a step back and asking the migrants not to come to the border.
But critics of the administration are not convinced yet over its way of handling the crisis at the border. Recently, a disturbing video surfaced on social media showing smugglers dropping two little kids over a 14-foot border wall in New Mexico and fleeing. The two girls were later rescued by the patrol agents but the 29-second surveillance footage has shocked the world.
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Fox News’s Peter Doocy raised the issue at a press conference in the White House on Thursday, April 1, and asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki the steps the Biden administration is taking to stop the potentially deadly tactic. Addressing the issue, Psaki said: “I’ve seen the video, and I think any of us who saw the video were incredibly alarmed by the steps of smugglers, ones that we have been quite familiar with.”
Smugglers, under cover of night, scaled a 14 ft. border barrier and cruelly dropped 2 young children in the middle of the New Mexico desert. The girls, ages 3 & 5, were left miles from the nearest residence. Thank you STN Agents for rescuing these children! @CBP @CBPWestTexas pic.twitter.com/U91y2g8Lk1— Gloria I. Chavez (@USBPChiefEPT) March 31, 2021
'Are you concerned about kids' safety or kids getting in?'
But when Doocy pressed her over the steps the Biden administration is taking to prevent repetition of such incidents, Psaki countered asking: “Are you concerned more about the kids’ safety, or are you concerned about kids getting in?” She added: “Tell me more about your concern.”
When Doocy responded saying he was asking about the children’s safety, Psaki said with a small: “Of course it is. Which is why I’m often surprised by some of the line of questioning here.”
“But I will say that our concern and our focus is on sending a clear message to the region that this is not the time to come,” she continued. “[That] you should not send your kids on this treacherous journey. That these smugglers are preying on vulnerabilities in these communities.”
Psaki doesn't say anything on stepping up border security
But apart from expressing a concern over the kids’ safety, Psaki did not say anything on whether the White House was considering tightening border security after the shocking video surfaced. She only reiterated a position that was taken by President Biden earlier, saying the White House was trying to address the causes that were making the migrants move, a task which has been assigned to Vice President Kamala Harris. Psaki cleared the air on Monday, March 29, saying Biden’s big announcement that Harris is in charge of the border crisis apparently led to some confusion as the veep was just looking after the problem’s “root causes”.
“There’s a lot of issues and steps we need to take to address root causes. So of course our concern is for the safety of these kids,” Psaki said on Thursday. “These border patrol agents who saved these kids deserve our thanks and our gratitude for ensuring their safety.”
Whatever the Biden administration says to convince the critics that things were being kept under control at the border, the ground reality has been different. The number of kids kept under custody has grown in big numbers, so much so that in California, some local foster parents said they received phone calls and mails requesting them to accommodate more migrant children. The administration has also been accused of not allowing the media to go to the detention centers housing the kids and the border in general but images have leaked showing how they have been kept in cramped spaces. Even Mexico has expressed worry that Biden’s immigration policies have seen a boom in human trafficking cartels.
Meanwhile, a US border official on Tuesday, March 30, said that he was expecting more than a million migrants to reach the southern border this year, clearly implying that the challenge is far from over for President Biden.