National Security

John Kirby Dodges Reporter’s Question About Migrants Given Court Dates In 2031

Screenshot: White House via Grabien

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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White House national security spokesman John Kirby couldn’t answer a reporter’s question about illegal migrants who have been given court dates as far away as 2031, during a press briefing Thursday.

Fox Business correspondent Hillary Vaughn asked Kirby about the issue after Fox News’ Bill Melugin reported that a migrant was recently released by federal authorities and given a court date in 2031. The record surge in illegal crossings has added to the ongoing immigration court backlog, which now consists of roughly 3 million cases. (RELATED: Feds Raise Concerns Over New Pathway Fueling Migrant Crisis)


“Some illegal border crossers are getting court dates in 2031. What are they supposed to do here for seven years?” Vaughn asked.

“That’s a better question put to DHS, I’m not in a position to talk about specific cases like that. The president believes that we’ve got to do better at immigration and he is willing to talk and negotiate with members of Congress about immigration policy, just as well as he is about border security, but I’m not in a position to talk about the specifics,” Kirby said.

Since October, Border Patrol agents have encountered more than 547,000 migrants crossing the southern border illegally, according to preliminary data recently obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“After someone has lived here for seven years and presumably gotten a work permit and worked here. If their asylum claim is denied, are they really going to be deported or is that just a problem for the next president?” Vaughn asked.

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals about specific cases. He does believe and he has worked to increase legal pathways to citizenship, but obviously illegal pathways, you know, they need to be held account if you’re trying to come into the country illegally,” Kirby said.

Vaughn continued to press Kirby for not directly answering her question. “But is the president thinking this far down the line? I mean, people are being given court dates seven years from now. So, is he creating a big problem for another president to have to figure out if these people are going to be deported after just working, living, maybe having families here for seven years?” Vaughn asked.

“Again, I’m not going to get into hypothetical cases here. On day one of the administration, the president put to Congress a proposal for immigration reform. He has said in recent days he’s willing to have a serious discussion with members of Congress about immigration policy. So, let’s see where that goes, but he’s taken the issue very very seriously,” Kirby said.

Immigration has been a contentious issue on Capitol Hill recently, as Democrats and Republicans attempt to negotiate over tying border security funding to an aid package for Israel and Ukraine. A deal is not expected to be reached until 2024.

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