Jean-Pierre: Flights Are Until We Fix ‘Crisis’ with Immigration System, Doesn’t Deny DHS Pitched Flying Migrants to L.A., Northern Border

On Tuesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Alex Wagner Tonight,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not deny reporting from NBC that DHS has presented the White House with proposals to send migrants to the U.S.-Canada border and to cities like Los Angeles and responded to a question on how that’s any different from Govs. Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) transporting migrants by saying that the White House wants to fix the immigration system and the White House transports are stopgap measures until they fix the “crisis” in the immigration system.

After Jean-Pierre said that President Biden hasn’t reached out to Govs. Abbott or DeSantis about their migrant transports and there’s no point in doing so, but Biden is ready to support immigration reform, host Alex Wagner said, “Yeah, I mean, I guess — and I understand that. I mean, this is clearly political gamesmanship, if you will. And it’s not incumbent on the person who’s not playing that game to call them. It just that Joe Biden is the kind of President you’d think — I mean, this is the kind of President he proposed himself to be as a candidate, who could say, cut it out. Now, whether that would make any difference to Gov. Abbott and Ron DeSantis is an open question. It might not. But, in terms of the crisis on the border, something that directly needs to be addressed, I want to talk about where the White House is at, in terms of solutions. We have some reporting from NBC that DHS officials have presented the White House with some options, including flying migrants to the country’s northern border with Canada to alleviate overcrowding on the U.S.-Mexico border. Under a plan proposed by DHS, migrants would be sent to such cities as Los Angeles, where shelters would get an advanced warning to have time to prepare for the influx. Now, I know, some people are going say, sending migrants on planes, wait, wait, wait, alarm bells. Tell me how that is meaningfully different than what DeSantis and Abbott are doing.”

Jean-Pierre responded, “So, let me just say a couple of things about what’s happening at the border. DHS put out a report laying out what kind of a migration situation that we’re dealing with, which is very new. I mentioned Venezuela, I mentioned Nicaragua, I mentioned Cuba. We have seen an increase of about 121% from — since last year of what’s going on with these countries that are fleeing Communism. So, that has gone up. And if you look at north Central America, in the last three months, we have seen a decrease of about 43%. So, we are in a different kind of migration component right now. And so, we have to deal with where we are. So, the way that we have worked this through is that there’s Title 42, which is a court-ordered process that we have to go through. It’s a CDC health authority. It’s not an immigration authority. And so, people are automatically expelled. And for those that are not, they go through a legal process. And right now, what we have been able to do in the past 19 months, in the past year, is we have seen a very much increase, a historic increase, of people that we have been able to expel out of the country. So, that is something that we have been able to do. Look, the system is broken. And we know that. It was decimated by the last administration. And what we’re trying to do is fix something that has had decades and decades of deterioration, when you look at the system. So, what we’re asking is we’re asking to really fix it in a way that is transformative. And to do that, it is really Congress acting and we’re asking Republicans, hey, instead of playing political games, why don’t you join us in trying to fix a real problem that’s happening at the border?”

Wagner then asked, “So, these measures, Title 42, a Trump-era holdover, flying migrants to other cities, you see those as stopgap measures?”

Jean-Pierre answered, “Yeah. Because we have to fix what’s actually broken, right? And if we don’t do that, then we’re not truly addressing an issue that is affecting all of us. And so, look, the border is not open. We’re doing everything that we can to make sure that we’re dealing with this issue. It’s a crisis that has been decimated, right? The system has been decimated by the last administration, and so, we’re going to do everything that we can. But again, these political games, we’re going to call them out. They are really inhumane and inappropriate.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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