Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy confronted White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday for claiming that illegal immigration is down by 90%.
Jean-Pierre said at Monday’s briefing that illegal immigration went down 90% since President Joe Biden assumed office.
“In the meantime, he has tools that he’s used to make sure we do this. We actually deal with the immigration system in a humane way, in a way that actually deals with what we’re seeing at the border. And that’s why you’ve seen the parolee program be so successful. When it comes to illegal immigration, you’ve seen it come down by more than 90%. And that’s because of this, the actions that this president has taken,” Jean-Pierre said Monday.
Doocy addressed the remarks to the press secretary the following day, citing data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showing a surge in illegal migration.
“You said yesterday that when it comes to illegal migration, you’ve seen it come down by more than 90%,” Doocy began. “Where did that number com from? Because CBP is telling us that number is 136,000 people more-”
“I hear you, I’m about to answer. I’m about to answer you if the dramatics would come down just a little bit,” the press secretary began as Doocy finished his question.
“What’s dramatic about asking a question about-” Doocy began. (RELATED: ‘That’s Exactly What’s Happening’: Doocy, Jean-Pierre Spar Over CDC Guidance For Illegal Immigrants Versus All Other Travelers)
“Okay, I’m gonna answer,” Jean-Pierre interjected. “I was speaking to the parolee program. As you know, the president put in place a parolee program to deal with certain countries on ways we can limit illegal migration. And we have seen, the data has shown, that it has gone down by more than 90%. That’s what I was speaking to.”
The press secretary abruptly cut Doocy’s third question off and moved to the next reporter as he attempted to ask about the parolee program further.
The Fox News reporter also asked the press secretary why the administration is sending 1,500 active duty U.S. troops to the border if it is secure. Prominent Biden administration officials, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Vice President Kamala Harris, have repeatedly assured the public that the U.S.-Mexico border is secure.
“Because we need more work. More work needs to be done, Peter,” the press secretary told Doocy. “We put forth a comprehensive immigration legislation and Republicans in Congress refuse to act. And so the president has used the tools that he has in front of him to prepare ahead of Title 42 lifting, as you know that is happening in the next couple of days. So the Department of State is putting forth processes to deal with the changes that are going be ahead of us.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mayorkas deployed the active duty troops and announced plans to process migrants south of the border in an attempt to mitigate the expected surge of upcoming migration as Title 42, a Trump-era policy expelling migrants on the basis of COVID-19, is set to be lifted May 11.
CBP has recorded a record surge in migration since Biden took office in Jan. 2021. Between Oct. 2021 and March 2022, Border Patrol agents recorded more than 3 million migrant encounters at the border.