High-ranking members of President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have now told border officials that they can’t talk to the media about the situation at the U.S.–Mexico border, two Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency officials told the Washington Examiner and other news outlets.
Border officials are reportedly being told not to deviate from administration-approved messaging and talking points, and tours and ride-alongs at the border are being denied because of the coronavirus, the CBP officials said, even though they were not restricted during Donald Trump’s tenure as president, when the pandemic was in full force.
What’s more, according to the Examiner, no members of the media have been allowed inside Border Patrol facilities — even though they are reportedly overcrowded and are holding migrants, including children without their parents, for longer than the three days currently allowed before they are released or transferred to other childcare facilities within the U.S.
NBC News also reported that they requested images from inside the migrant facilities, but were denied.
Officials speak out anyway
Despite this unofficial “gag” order, border officials told Fox News on Wednesday that they thought Biden was wrong not to call the situation a crisis.
“A week ago I would not have called this a crisis. Today it meets the definition,” president of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, told Fox News. “We are overwhelmed. We do not have the resources to stop the cartels from bringing in illegal aliens, from bringing in drugs, therefore we are in fact in a crisis.”
A senior CBP official speaking anonymously told Fox that Biden knows the border situation is a crisis, even if he refuses to say so.
“The president understands it is a crisis which is why he told migrants ‘don’t come over,'” the official reportedly said.
Biden not traveling to border
Biden said Tuesday that he did not plan to visit the border despite the recent surge, which began when the Democrat was elected and increased exponentially after he rolled back Trump-era orders and agreements that kept many migrants from being released in the U.S. while they waited for asylum or deportation hearings.
Reports indicate migrants entering the U.S. are not even being tested for the coronavirus, and local outlets in places like Brownsville, Texas, that have tested migrants show that large numbers are probably infected and could be spreading COVID-19 in border towns and other places to which they are traveling.
Authorities in border towns do not have the authority to detain illegal immigrants who test positive for COVID-19, so they could be traveling or moving around in the country undetected.
Still, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has only said that the situation is “difficult.” I’d say that’s the understatement of Biden’s presidency so far.