White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that the United States-Mexico border was not open to migrants, even as over a thousand border crossers have been released into the interior of the U.S.
“The border is not open,” Psaki replied when asked by Breitbart News during the White House press briefing why President Joe Biden’s administration was releasing border crossers into the country without their being tested for the Chinese coronavirus.
As Breitbart News has reported, local authorities have noted that border crossers are being released into the U.S. interior without being tested for the coronavirus and are only undergoing minimal quarantine requirements before their release.
In one instance, officials with the city of Brownsville, Texas, are having to administer voluntary coronavirus tests to border crossers who were released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into their community.
When confronted with these reports, Psaki acknowledged the release of border crossers but said it was “incredibly narrow and limited circumstances.”
Despite Psaki’s assertion that federal immigration officials are releasing only a fraction of those who are arriving at the southern border, DHS officials have yet to provide totals of how many border crossers are being released into the U.S. interior. Unofficial figures from advocacy organizations facilitating the release of border crossers indicate the figure is over 1,000 this month.
Border apprehensions in January increased nearly 160 percent compared to the same time last year. In total, more than 75,000 border crossers were apprehended last month — the highest number of border crossers in the month of January since 2006. Thousands more likely were able to enter the U.S. illegally, undetected by federal immigration officials.
Breitbart News has requested release totals of how many of these border crossers have been released into the U.S. interior, but DHS officials have not provided that data at the time of this publication.
Psaki asserted that the “majority of people who come to the border are turned away” and that DHS is “enforcing our laws at the border” though the Biden administration has ended a number of anti-fraud programs that drastically cut asylum abuse, illegal immigration, and effectively ended the Catch and Release program.
“Some migrants are processed for removal, provided a notice to appear and wait within the U.S. to await an immigration hearing,” Psaki said, claiming there are “impossible” long-term holding solutions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Much of those so-called “impossible” long-term holding scenarios became a problem of the past for DHS thanks to the Remain in Mexico policy, the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Title 42 order, and a number of U.S. cooperative asylum agreements with Central America.
Together, the policies allowed federal immigration officials to almost instantly return the overwhelming majority of border crossers to either Mexico to await their asylum hearings or back to their native countries. The policies freed up loads of space in DHS facilities so as not to expose Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to the coronavirus and other dangers.
During the press briefing, Psaki said more than once that under current circumstances, now “was not the right time to come” to the U.S., suggesting that there would be a better time in the future to arrive through the southern border.
“I think it’s important for us to convey … this is not the time to come,” Psaki said. She blamed former President Trump’s administration for making it difficult to restore a “more humane” immigration system but did not go into details.
“We are committed to putting in place a moral and humane system and process, but we are also digging out of four years of detrimental policies as it relates to immigration,” Psaki said. “And that’s going to take some time.”
On Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that foreign nationals now believe that the “doors are open” to the U.S.
“Now, for example, that there is a U.S. immigration policy to regularize the situation of migrants, Mexicans, and our Central American brothers, people think that now the doors are open, that President Biden is going to immediately regularize all migrants,” López Obrador said.
Obrador said that it was “not true” that everyone could go to the U.S. and be “regularized” by the Biden administration.
“Our brother migrants should have this information so that they won’t be deceived by human traffickers, who paint a rosy picture,” he said.
This week, a group of 52 House Republicans sent a letter to the Biden administration warning that the only policy keeping at bay a rush to the southern border is the CDC’s Title 42 order, which allows federal immigration officials to quickly return border crossers to their native countries.
“Notably, the Trump administration’s policy to use 42 U.S. Code § 265 is perhaps now the only policy ensuring the southern border is not immediately rushed … if title 42 is indeed rescinded, the daily illegal flow will become catastrophic overnight,” the House Republicans wrote.