CNN’s Jeff Zeleny pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday over media access being granted to an “aspirational” migrant detention facility, rather than “problem” facilities.
Zeleny asked about the access during the daily White House press briefing and questioned Psaki on why that specific facility was chosen, and if access to other facilities would be granted in the future. (RELATED: Joe Biden Suggests He Wants To Bring Back A Trump-Era Immigration Policy For Asylum Seekers)
“The access being granted today for the pool is of a facility that is aspirational of where you want to move these children. What about access to the facilities where there is overcrowding and there is an actual problem? Why was this one chosen over those?” Zeleny began.
Psaki responded that the administration is open to providing access to other facilities, and “this was just the first step” to “providing greater access to the media.”
“When would that decision be made? You said earlier this week that you would be working on access. Is this the only access or will that be coming?” Zeleny followed up.
Psaki stated that the process is “ongoing” and that the administration wanted to provide pool coverage in the selected facility because it allowed for a video camera so access could be provided to all of the television networks. “We felt that would be a good first step and we’re looking forward to continuing to engage about how to provide increased access,” she added.
“Would you agree though that you’ve chosen the facility that is the aspirational facility as opposed to the problem at this moment?” Zeleny asked.
“I would say we all agree that the border patrol facilities are not places where children should be. Children should be moving more quickly through those facilities. That is what our policy central focus is right now,” Psaki responded. “It’s also becoming a public health concern because of the number of kids who are moving through those facilities.”
“Why not show those to the American people?” Zeleny asked, to which Psaki concluded that the administration will do that, but right now they are working with border patrol and DHS to determine how.
President Joe Biden’s administration has come under increasing pressure over what has been described as a media “gag order” at the border. Earlier in March, the administration told the Daily Caller News Foundation that members of the media will not be allowed access because of the coronavirus pandemic. They announced the visit to the facility at the focus of Zeleny’s questions on Wednesday, with only one network camera being allowed in.