White House press secretary Jen Psaki referred to the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as a “crisis” during Thursday’s press briefing.
Her comments came during an exchange with CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe over diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Mexico regarding shipments of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
O’Keefe asked if the U.S. had attached any “expectations” for Mexico’s partnership in solving the border problems onto the vaccine agreement.
“There have been expectations set outside of, unrelated to any vaccine doses or requests for them, that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border,” Psaki responded. “There have been requests, unrelated, for doses of these vaccines. Every relationship has multiple layers of conversation that are happening at the same time.” (RELATED: President Biden Tells Illegal Immigrants ‘Don’t Come Over’ After Migrants Overwhelm Border Facilities)
Later in the briefing, Psaki responded to a follow-up question from Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann that her use of “crisis” did not represent a shift in administration policy.
The press secretary’s phrasing marks the first time a senior Biden administration official has referred to the situation as a “crisis.”
Psaki, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorks and National Security Council border coordinator Roberta Jacobson have all dodged questions about whether or not there is a crisis in recent press briefings.
Mayorkas did direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist DHS process and transport migrant children earlier in the week and additionally predicted in a Tuesday statement that the country is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”. (RELATED: ‘Is It Now A Disaster?’: Fox’s Peter Doocy Presses Jen Psaki On FEMA’s Role At The Border)
“We are expelling most single adults and families. We are not expelling unaccompanied children,” he wrote. “Our goal is a safe, legal and orderly immigration system that is based on our bedrock priorities: to keep our borders secure, address the plight of children as the law requires, and enable families to be together.”