Psaki: We Are Not ‘Ripping Kids from the Arms of Parents’ Like Trump Did

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday on ABC’s “The View” that the Biden administration is not “ripping kids from the arms of their parents” when asked about the reopening of a migrant facility near the U.S. Mexico border for housing children.

Co-host Meghan McCain asked, “This week, a migrant facility that operated under the Trump administration for only a month in September of 2019 is being reactivated to hold up to 700 children ages 13 to 17.”

She continued, “President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly spoke out against kids in cages. I feel like this is the same thing, and that you’re still detaining kids at the border, and it’s not meaningfully different than what President Trump was doing.”

Psaki said, “Absolutely not, the same thing Meghan. We are not ripping children from the arms of their parents. That is horrible and something we saw in the last administration, but we’re seeing kids are fleeing prosecution. They’re fleeing really difficult circumstances in their home country, and they’re coming to the border, and we have to figure out how to treat them humanely and team them safe and keep them safe, and in a time of COVID. We had to have educational services, so we could have legal services and medical and health services and have those kids in there treated humanely until we can find proper homes, family placements for these kids. This is incredibly difficult. It’s heart-wrenching, and it’s a really difficult decision, and it’s the best decision we could make to keep these kids safe until we can get them to the right places and the right homes.”

McCain pressed, “I just wanted to know, are you or are you not detaining children in a different facility?”

Psaki said, “Well, Meghan, this is a facility that was reopened. It was revamped, and it was redone to have these kids in a place where they could have access to educational services, health services so they could find proper homes. We can’t send them directly to families that haven’t been vetted. We’ve seen issues with that in the past. We can’t have them all in the former HHS facility because of COVID, and we need to make sure there are safety protocols, so they’re not in beds next to each other.”

She continued, “What’s important, and what we all have the responsibility to do, is communicate what this is and what this is not. This is a facility, and we had to open a new one to make sure we have the safety protocols in order to address the COVID needs and the health and safety needs because we can’t have as many kids in the former HHS facility. That’s exactly what we did, but our objective is to get these kids into safe homes with their families as quickly as possible. We are absolutely not doing what the former president did, and what frankly the current president and the current vice president objected to, which is ripping kids from the arms of their parents. That is not the policy of this administration and not something we would do.”

She added, “It’s absolutely not the same, and that’s our objective. You know, we want these kids to be safe. We want them to be treated humanely. We can’t send them back on the journey they just went on. That is not the right choice, but we need to make sure that we are finding their families. That’s hard too. There’s not the data and the history, thanks to the last administration. So this is incredibly difficult. We want these kids to be with their families, to be reunited. We want they can to be with family members. It’s going to take some time, and we also want them to be safe during a time where there’s a global pandemic, and that required the opening and revamping of this facility.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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