White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged questions about immigration control during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, deflecting questions from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy about the administration’s decision to temporarily house children in detention facilities.
The Biden administration has opened detention facilities for unaccompanied minors apprehended at the U.S. border. These facilities have been criticized as being similar to the “cages” used by former President Donald Trump’s administration.
“We’ve seen some photos now of containers. Is there a better description?” Doocy asked. “Is it kids in containers instead of kids in cages? What is the the White House’s description of this facility?”
“Well, let me give a broader description of what’s happening here,” Psaki responded. “We have a number of unaccompanied minors, children who are coming into the country without their families, what we are not doing, what the last administration did, was separate those kids, rip them from the arms of their parents at the border, we are not doing that. That is immoral. And that is not the approach of this administration. These kids, we have a couple of options, we can send them back home and do a dangerous journey back, we are not doing that either. That is also putting them at risk.
“We can quickly transfer them from CBP to these HHS run facilities. That’s one option, or we can put them with families and sponsors without any vetting. There were some problems that that that that process ran into as well. We’ve chosen the middle option. And these HHS facilities. This is one of them, you’re referring to, we had to expand and open additional facilities, because there was not enough space in the existing facilities … if we were to abide by COVID protocols. That’s the process and the step. This facility in Texas, which has been reopened, has been revamped has been there are teachers there is medical facilities and our objective is to move them move these kids quickly from there to vetted, sponsored families and to places where they can safely be. This is a difficult situation. It’s a difficult choice. That’s the choice we’ve made.”
Doocey also said that people at the border have said that the facilities being used by the Biden administration “are the same kind of facilities now that they did during the Trump administration.”
Psaki said that these were facilities were used by border patrol to temporarily house children before they are sent to more permanent housing.
“Let’s be clear, though, because I know you want to be clear with the public about the differences, the CBP facilities, which you’re right, the objective is to move kids, unaccompanied minors, as quickly as possible under 72 hours to these HHS fund sponsored facilities, which is the one where we’ve been referring to in Texas, they are two different things,” Psaki said. “There has been some, there were some delays last week because of weather and because some of these facilities to safely move these kids to, did not have power, and we’re not in a place where they could they had the capacity to take in these kids and do it safely. That is not our objective. That is not our goal. So some unfortunately did state four days five days or longer, but the objective is to move them as quickly as possible to the HHS sponsored facilities.”