Psaki Defends Biden Reopening Child Migrant Facilities He Once Ripped Opened Under Trump

Psaki Defends Biden Reopening Child Migrant Facilities He Once Ripped Opened Under Trump

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
February 24, 2021

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to defend the Biden Administration’s latest move of “temporary reopening” several migrant facilities, claiming this time it different and necessary due to the Coronavirus pandemic, despite the same facility when it first opened were savagely denounced by President Joe Biden who accused his predecessor of putting “kids in cages.”

During Tuesday’s Daily White House press briefing, Psaki was asked by FOX News reporter Peter Doocy on the recent Wa-Po report of the Biden administration reopening an emergency center facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas that was once briefly utilized for one month in 2019 under the Trump Administration.

The FOX reporter asked about the hypocrisy from both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, citing their past remarks used during the 2020 presidential campaign trail when slamming the former administration for opening the detention facility during a similar surge in border crossings is now implement the same move.

“It’s the same facility that was open for a month in the Trump administration. Summer 2019, that is when Joe Biden said, ‘Under Trump, there’ve been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages.’ Kamala Harris said, basically, ‘Babies in cages is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government.’ How is this any different than that?” Doocy asked.

“We very much feel that way. Let me be clear here, one, there’s a pandemic going on. I’m sure you’re not suggesting that we have children right next to each other in ways that are not COVID safe. Are you?” Psaki snarled back in response.

This prompted Doocy with a follow-up, firing back other condemnation remarks made by both Biden and Harris to press Psaki on what is different from earlier versions in the Trump era.

“I am suggesting that Kamala Harris said that this facility, putting people in this facility was a human abuse committed by the United States government. Joe Biden said, ‘Under Trump, there’ve been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages.’ Now it’s not under Trump, it’s under Biden,” Doocy pressed on.

Psaki snapped back, insisting that despite it being the same facility, the Biden administration won’t follow the “same standards” or “replicate” the hard immigration stance of the former president.

“This not kids being kept in cages,” the press secretary claimed, refusing to accept the notion that the facilities were similar to that of the Trump administration.

“This is a facility that was opened that’s going to follow the same standards as other HHS facilities. It is not a replication. Certainly not,” Psaki added. “That is never our intention, of replicating the immigration policies of the past administration. But we are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border. That would be inhumane. That is not what we are going to do here as an administration.”

The emergency Texas facility was first opened in the summer of 2019 but was only used for one month under the Trump administration after it became widely demonized by Democrats who attempted to change the narrative. Prominent Democrats unleashed a wave of unfactual claims that thousands of migrant children were forcibly “ripped” from their parents at the border and being detained in separate detention facilities.

In June of 2019, Biden criticized Trump for opening the “horrifying” Texas facility by falsely decrying in a Miami Herald op-ed that migrant children were “being kept in cages, tear-gassing asylum seekers, ripping children from their mothers’ arms.”

Meanwhile, at the same time then-Sen. Harris sought to politicize the Florida facility ahead of Miami Democratic presidential debate by claiming the Homestead center that housed over 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children were “babies in cages,” and charged the Trump administration for committing “crimes against humanity.”

On Monday, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it was reactivating a temporary “Influx Care Facility” capable of holding up to 700 minors aged 13 to 17 in Carrizo Springs, Texas, as well as another facility in Homestead, Florida. The detention holding center, a former camp for oil field workers can house up to 700 minor teenagers from the ages 13 to 17. As of Monday, more than 200 migrant teenagers were placed in the Texas emergency facilities.

Psaki rejected the hypocrisy of reopening the center, calling it a “temporary reopening” due to the COVID protocols implemented by Refugee Resettlement Shelters with both facilities helping to “significantly reduced” other centers, as they can’t “have a child in every bed.”

“Well, first, the policy of this administration, is not to expel unaccompanied children who arrive at the border. The process is that Customs and Border Patrol continue to transfer unaccompanied children to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement. That can take a couple of days,” Psaki said. “There needs to be spacing, and we abide by those spacing to protect the kids who are living in those facilities for a short period of time. To ensure the health and safety of these kids, HHS took steps to open an emergency facility to add capacity where these children can be provided the care they need before they are safely placed with families and sponsors.”

The press secretary went on further by dancing around the hypocrisy and claiming the Biden administration “goal” is to help the migrant children after being detained in finding “sponsors” or “transferred” to other family members who already reside in the county, so every illegal child will have the same access as American-born citizen to “education, health, and mental services,” that all paid by American tax-payer dollars.

“We need to find places that are safe under COVID protocols for kids to be, where they can have access to education, health, and mental services consistent with their best interests,” Psaki said. “Our goal is for them to then be transferred to families or sponsors.

The number of unaccompanied children illegally crossing the border to seek asylum has risen drastically since Biden revoked many of the former president’s hard-immigration stance policies in exchange for lax immigration rules. According to reports from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, Border Patrol agents apprehended 5,871 unaccompanied minors in January 2021, eight times more from the dramatically low of only 741 in April 2020 during the Trump administration.

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Mona Salama

Mona Salama