White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said all children who report to the US-Mexico border will be allowed into the country, despite a mounting migration crisis.
The Biden administration already has opened two overflow facilities for unaccompanied minors and reportedly is considering opening a third at a military base in Virginia.
Psaki said it should be no surprise that there’s a surge in illegal immigrant kids coming without their parents due to policy changes under President Biden.
“Obviously we’re going to have more kids across the — in the country since we have been letting unaccompanied minors stay. And the last administration immorally kicked them out,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing.
Psaki said “we certainly understand the outcome may be an influx, as we’ve seen of more children.”
Psaki briskly answered “No” to a reporter who asked whether there are “any discussions within the White House about reversing the policy of allowing all unaccompanied children into the United States.”
Former President Donald Trump on Friday accused Biden of unleashing a “tsunami” of illegal migration by reversing Trump’s policies, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which about 71,000 Central American asylum applicants had been awaiting rulings in Mexico.
Psaki responded at the briefing, “We don’t take our advice or counsel from former President Trump on immigration policy, which was not only inhumane, but ineffective over the last four years. We’re going to chart our own path forward. And that includes treating children with humanity and respect and ensuring they’re safe when they cross our borders.”
Psaki said some children may ultimately be returned to their home countries and she declined to commit to releasing fresh statistics on the number of migrants crossing the border.
The most recent official monthly figures indicate border agents detained nearly 78,000 people in January, up from 36,679 in January 2020. About 2,200 unaccompanied children crossed the border each week in February, according to reports.
The Biden administration has been on the defensive over the border crisis, with left-wing and Republican critics alleging hypocrisy in Biden storing “kids in containers” at detention camps after Democratic criticism of Trump for putting “kids in cages.”
Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday denied there was a “crisis” at the border and said that “loving parents” are sending 9-year-old children alone to the US-Mexico border.
“We are not apprehending a 9-year-old child who’s come alone, who has traversed Mexico, whose parents — whose loving parents — had sent that child alone, we are not expelling that 9-year-old child to Mexico when that child’s origin, country of origin, was Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador,” Mayorksas said at a White House briefing.