‘How is This Any Different?’ Fox News Reporter Questions Psaki on Biden Reopening of Trump-Era Facility For Migrant Children
Fox News reporter Peter Doocy questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the Biden administration’s decision to re-open a facility used under the previous president to house migrant children.
An emergency facility in Texas was reactivated this week in order to temporarily hold up to 700 teenaged children, according to the Washington Post. The facility, which government officials said is required given capacity restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, has been closed since summer 2019.
The Post reported that the decision to reopen a Trump-era facility under Biden — who has condemned his predecessor’s family separation policies — is drawing criticism from migrant advocates.
“Why is the Biden administration reopening a temporary facility for migrant children in Texas?” Doocy asked at Tuesday’s press briefing.
Psaki outlined the Biden administration’s process of dealing with unaccompanied children who arrive at the border. Instead of deporting those children, they are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, where restrictions due to the pandemic have made for limited space.
“Because of Covid-19 protocols, the social distancing requirements, the capacity of the existing office of refugee resettlement shelters has been significantly reduced, because of course, you can’t have a child in every bed,” Psaki said, adding that the new facility is an emergency one, opened during Covid-19.
“Our intention is very much to close it, but we want to ensure that we can follow Covid protocols as unaccompanied minors come into the United States,” she said.
Doocy followed up by noting that the facility was opened for a month during the Trump administration, and that both Biden and Kamala Harris criticized Trump’s family separation policy and the housing of unaccompanied children.
“Joe Biden said, under Trump, there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages, and Kamala Harris said basically babies in cages is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government, so how is this any different than that?” Doocy asked.
“We very much feel that way,” Psaki replied. “There’s a pandemic going on. I’m sure you’re not suggesting that we have children right next to each other in ways that are not Covid safe. Are you?”
Doocy reiterated the comments from the president and vice president.
“This is not kids being kept in cages,” Psaki said. “This is a facility that was opened that’s going to follow the same standards as other HHS facilities. It is not a replication, certainly not, that is never our intention of replicating the immigration policies of the past administration, but we are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border. That would be inhumane.”
The Trump administration faced consistent national uproar thanks to its draconian immigration policies. The most unpopular of those policies was one that deliberately forced the separation of families in order to deter migrants from seeking to illegally enter the United States. The Trump administration eventually abandoned that policy after images of kids held in cages at border facilities sparked international outrage.
When he entered into office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order creating a task force that will work to reunite families separated by the Trump administration. The Trump administration separated at least 5,500 children from their families. The ACLU estimates some 1,000 remain separated.
Watch above, via CBSN.
Correction: This story initially identified Peter Doocy as Steve Doocy. Mediaite regrets the error.
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