White House press secretary Jen Psaki forcefully pushed back on Fox News’ senior White House correspondent Peter Doocy’s claim the border is open and threatening to only make the pandemic worse during Thursday’s press briefing.
Doocy noted there were approximately 15,000 migrants under the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Saturday. However, when taken into account the migrants Psaki said were expelled or released, Doocy claimed that number drops to less than 5,000.
“Say there’s 5,000 that are still left, where’s everybody else?” Doocy asks. Psaki did not provide a straight answer and said she’d be happy to get him a better answer from the Department of Homeland Security.
Doocy then questioned whether the administration’s removal process was contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.
“We understand basically most of these people that are going into removal proceedings are being put on either buses from Del Rio to El Paso and Laredo or being flown to Tucson with no covid testing unless they show symptoms. How is that helping anybody stop the spread?” Doocy pressed.
“We have a protocol and processes in place as it relates to covid in terms of testing and quarantining and also vaccines are provided for a range of migrants,” Psaki responded. “What is happening now… is that if individuals cannot be expelled under Title 42 they are placed in removal proceedings.”
Psaki said that means some migrants are taken to ICE detainment facilities or given a notice to appear in court.
“But why should somebody say in Laredo Texas or El Paso or Tuscon, Arizona have to have their chance of catching covid go up because hundreds of miles away there is an open border?” Doocy questioned.
“Well, there certainly is not an open border,” Psaki shot back. “We are continuing to employ our immigration proceedings and processes and restrictions at the border and that includes the implementation of enforcing Title 42. (RELATED: Hundreds Of Haitians Remain Trapped At Mexican Migrant Camp After Del Rio Port Of Entry Closure)
“You say the border’s not open but we’re told by our teams on the ground you guys are releasing pretty much all family units, couples where the woman says that she is pregnant or single women who say that they are pregnant and that nobody actually has to take a pregnancy test unless they want to but…”
Psaki then cuts Doocy off, appearing to change the topic.
“Are you suggesting that you don’t believe when women say they’re pregnant? Is that a big issue we think, at the border?”
“I’m not in charge of keeping the border secure,” Doocy shot back. “You guys are.”
“Do you think pregnant women are posing a big threat to the border?” Psaki asked.
“You tell me,” Doocy responded.
Psaki said she doesn’t think women claiming they are pregnant at the border is a big issue before shifting back to earlier points she made.
Doocy once again asks whether the border is open, to which Psaki said she thinks he “knows the answer,” noting the administration is using Title 42 to expel migrants and discouraging migrants not to come.
Migrants were released on a “very, very large scale,” with a majority of them having been issued notices to appear in court, according to the report. Migrants were being transported to various towns such as El Paso and Laredo for additional processing, according to the AP.
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) September 21, 2021
Amid the surge in migrants, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday the state would enlist the National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to line up vehicles along the border to create a “steel barrier.” The vehicles will be parked along the Del Rio area, NBC DFW reported.