Flailing Biden White House Struggles to Respond to Border Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden takes of his mask as he arrives at an event on economic crisis in the State Dining Room of the White House January 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden spoke on his administration’s response to the economic crisis that caused …
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President Joe Biden’s administration continues struggling to respond to the border crisis, as the White House remains unprepared to answer the most basic questions about what is going on and how they plan to handle it.

Since Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas repeatedly insisted on March 1, the crisis was not a crisis but a “challenge,” the Biden administration has struggled to address it.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged several questions from reporters about the border crisis, refusing even to confirm the latest reports of over 3,200 unaccompanied minors detained at the border.

“I’m not going to confirm numbers from here,” Psaki said, adding the Department of Homeland Security is “not our program.”

She was also unable to say whether the Biden administration under Heath and Human Services would open more facilities to process the unaccompanied minors in detention.

“I don’t have anything to confirm for you in terms of new facilities,” she replied. “We are looking at facilities. A lot of considerations underway.”

The earlier decision to open up a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, was condemned by the left including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), but without more facilities, more minors are kept in detention families meant for adults.

To mollify critics on the left, Psaki reassured the minors would receive educational resources, health resources, mental health resources, and legal aid.

“Humanity will always be a value from the president on down,” Psaki said Tuesday.

The White House also has an approach to blame everything but their new policies for the sudden surge at the border.

Psaki blamed prosecution, violence, economic hardship as well as two hurricanes last fall for the surge at the border and the coronavirus pandemic.

“All of this is taking place during a global pandemic that has impacted other countries’ economies, placing undue hardships on its people, just as it did in the United States,” she said.

No, Psaki repeated Tuesday, it is not a crisis, even though the number of unaccompanied children in detention is larger than under Trump when it was about 2,600.

“Look, I don’t think we need to sit here and put new labels on what we have already conveyed is challenging,” she said.

Besides, Psaki argues, the American people care about the “substantive policy” behind the Biden administration’s approach.

“That’s the information the American people are looking for, so that’s what we’re working to provide,” she said.

The White House sent a handful of officials on a secret trip to the border on Saturday, who reassured reporters afterward they participated in “operational briefings, updates, and tours of the facilities” and would be briefing the president about the “challenges” on the border.

As Psaki remains unable to answer the basic questions about the crisis, the White House has planned a briefing with the Coordinator for the Southern Border Ambassador Roberta Jacobson

Jacobson, a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico serves in Biden’s National Security Council after resigning in protest in 2018 during the Trump administration.

She expressed her frustration with Trump’s “chaotic” attempt to renegotiate NAFTA, accusing the president of “vilifying Mexicans” in a New York Times op-ed condemning the former president.

“Despite Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric vilifying Mexicans and focusing on a border wall, embassy officials and our Mexican partners felt after his inauguration that we would be able to continue working well together,” she wrote. “But it quickly became impossible to know how to influence the mess in Washington.”



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