Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spent much of the 2020 campaign season demonizing Donald Trump and his approach to immigration, particularly at America’s southern border.
One of the hottest points of contention came in the form of allegations that the Trump administration was holding migrant kids “in cages.” But amid reports that Biden has reopened what Fox News called a “child migrant detention facility” in southern Texas, the new administration is feeling the heat, too — and they don’t seem very willing to open up about it.
Psaki admits it
During an appearance Thursday on ABC’s The View, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed by host Meghan McCain on how Biden’s policies differ from his predecessor’s.
“Absolutely not the same thing, Meghan,” Psaki said, according to Breitbart. “We are not ripping children from the arms of their parents. That is horrible and something we saw in the last administration, but we’re seeing kids are fleeing persecution.”
Psaki charged Thursday that migrant children are “fleeing really difficult circumstances in their home country, and they’re coming to the border, and we have to figure out how to treat them humanely and team them safe and keep them safe, and in a time of COVID.”
“We had to have educational services, so we could have legal services and medical and health services and have those kids in there treated humanely until we can find proper homes, family placements for these kids,” Psaki said, as Breitbart reported.
“This is incredibly difficult,” the press secretary insisted. “It’s heart-wrenching, and it’s a really difficult decision, and it’s the best decision we could make to keep these kids safe until we can get them to the right places and the right homes.”
AOC: “This is not okay”
But McCain wasn’t satisfied. “I just wanted to know,” she reportedly asked, “are you or are you not detaining children in a different facility?”
“Well, Meghan, this is a facility that was reopened,” Psaki replied, according to Breitbart. “It was revamped, and it was redone to have these kids in a place where they could have access to educational services, health services so they could find proper homes.”
Psaki added: “We can’t send them directly to families that haven’t been vetted. We’ve seen issues with that in the past. We can’t have them all in the former HHS facility because of COVID, and we need to make sure there are safety protocols, so they’re not in beds next to each other.”
Of course, that response isn’t likely to satisfy critics like progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who tweeted of Biden’s move: “This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay — no matter the administration or party.”
The New York congresswoman went on to advocate “reimagining our relationship to each other and challenging common assumptions we take for granted” in the realm of immigration. But it doesn’t seem like the de facto leader of her party is fully on board with that idea.