For weeks now, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has been asked about the worsening situation at the southern border and whether the Biden administration would concede it was a “crisis.”
Initially, she refused to call it a crisis.
“Look, I don’t think we need to sit here and put new labels on what we have already conveyed is challenging, what we have conveyed is a top priority for the President, what our policy teams are working on every single day,” she stated at the time.
But during a press briefing last Thursday, Psaki let the word slip. “There have been expectations set outside of — unrelated — to any vaccine doses or request for them that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border,” she said when asked whether negotiations between Mexico and the United States involving the U.S. sending surplus doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine included any “strings attached” related to border security.
When another reporter followed up and asked her about her use of the word “crisis,” she said she meant “challenges” at the border.
The word games the Biden team have played regarding the border crisis underscores their desperate need to control the messaging at a time when even members of their own party are demanding they be more upfront about the surge of migrants. That surge includes unaccompanied minors who are overwhelming the system and forcing crowded facilities to not only exceed the number of migrants allowed but to also keep unaccompanied children for longer than the legal limit of 72 hours.
“As of Saturday, there were 10,000 migrants in CBP custody overall,” Axios reported Monday. “Nearly half were unaccompanied minors — thousands of whom had been waiting for more than three days in border patrol facilities, according to government data provided to Axios by another source.”
Though Biden officials like to blame the Trump administration for the “challenges” they’re facing at the border, they only have President Biden to blame. On day one of his presidency, Biden rolled back numerous Trump administration policies that were designed to quell the surge of illegal immigrants coming from the south.
Members of a group of migrants living in a new border encampment here have a message for the new U.S. president printed on their T-shirts: “Biden please let us in!”
In addition to that, Biden made promises and declarations during his presidential campaign suggesting he was open to migrants “surging the border.”
“I would, in fact, make sure that there is — we immediately surge to the border (sic), all those people seeking asylum,” Biden proclaimed during a September 2019 Democratic presidential debate.
But he’s now done a reversal. In an interview last week, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he needed to explicitly tell migrants not to come to the border.
“Yes, I can say quite clearly: Don’t come over,” Biden stated. “Don’t leave your town or city or community.”
Anyone who doesn’t believe at this point that the crisis is one of Biden’s own making should simply listen to what some migrants who have either tried to cross the border or who have been deported have said.
“Biden promised us!” one woman who was sent back to Mexico cried, according to the New York Times.
“Biden promised us that everything was going to change,” said another.
And then there was this report from the Wall Street Journal:
“Members of a group of migrants living in a new border encampment here have a message for the new U.S. president printed on their T-shirts: ‘Biden please let us in!’”
They also reported on how one migrant family had “been living in the Tijuana plaza since mid-February, having heard that the Biden administration was going to let people cross the border soon.”
It seems silly for the current administration to blame the previous administration when migrants are talking about how much hope Biden’s words and actions gave them. And yet here we are.
Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.