Reporters Berate Biden Administration for Blocking Media Access to Child Migrant Detention Camps

border children
PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images

White House reporters signaled their frustration with White House press secretary Jen Psaki Wednesday for blocking press access to migrant detention camps on the Southern border.

“It’s now been three weeks since I think in this room you were first asked about getting us some press access,” one reporter asked Psaki. “Why have we still not seen any images inside these facilities?”

During the White House press briefing, Psaki repeatedly dodged questions about transparency, blaming coronavirus restrictions, health protocols, and the privacy of the children in the facilities for stalling reporter requests for access.

She also defended President Biden for failing to visit the border himself.

“He talks to plenty of officials,” she said, noting that he received “briefings” with photos and details about the facilities.

NBC News reported the Biden administration had issued an unofficial “gag order” to border officials from discussing the crisis of migrants flooding the Southern border, refusing reporter “ride alongs,” and requiring agents to send reporters’ requests for information to the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, DC.

One reporter noted that they had access to border patrol “ride alongs” with officials during former President Donald Trump’s administration:

[O]ur reporters used to be able to get ride alongs during the Trump administration and you all came in and promise to be the most truthful and transparent administration and you all you know oversee the Department of Homeland Security so if you all wanted to grant access to the press couldn’t you just tell DHS to do it?

Psaki referred reporters with questions about the conditions experienced by the child migrants to the Departments of Homeland Security and  Health and Human Services.

“I don’t have an update for you on the timeline for access but it is certainly something we support,” Psaki said.

The Biden White House continues to hide details of the conditions faced by child migrants trying to enter the United States as the administration faces criticism from the left for detaining them in poor conditions while they await transfer to a Heath and Human Services facility for processing.

Conservatives and Republicans continue criticizing Biden for lifting measures set in place by former President Donald Trump, triggering the crisis on the Southern border.

Psaki also refused to set a limit on the number of unattended minors allowed into the United States.

“We decided as you all know that we will be more humane about how we approach this,” she said.

One reporter recalled that a team of Biden officials sent to visit the border never briefed the press about the conditions in the camps.

Psaki said she was happy to “invite” the team to the press briefing room, but did not commit to a date for that kind of briefing. She also declined to provide any details about future official trips to the border

“I expect we will have additional trips to the border but I don’t have one to preview for you today,” he concluded. “Thank you, everyone. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.”

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