CNN anchor Jake Tapper chastised President Biden Monday on the press being blocked from covering the crisis on the border and the facilities housing unaccompanied illegal immigrant children.
After addressing the crisis on the border and pointing out that the media has been denied access to the Department of Homeland Security facilities, Tapper flatly stated that the Biden administration was “not leveling with the American people.”
Then the CNN anchor aired pictures released by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) that show teenagers crowded into the border facilities, sleeping with mylar blankets on mats on the floor. They were contained in clear pens that resemble cages.
“Today we saw this rare look inside these facilities since the Biden administration has not granted news media access to the facilities, citing COVID restrictions, despite the president’s promise in his inaugural address to always level with you,” Tapper accusingly commented. “Blocking access to the news media is not leveling with the American people, Mr. President.”
(Video Credit: CNN)
MSNBC’s Katy Tur said on Monday, “The Biden administration kept talking about transparency, and we’re not getting any transparency here with what is happening at the border. That we have to get those issues from a congressman who won’t say where he got those images is very frustrating for not just journalists, but for the American public who want to know what’s going on inside those facilities.”
She also said, “Why is the media still not allowed into these facilities?”
CNN Reporter: Migrant children centers are ‘jail-like,’ look like concrete ‘prison cells’ https://t.co/CeEhyibfNa
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) March 23, 2021
NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez ironically wound up defending former President Trump: “Even the Trump administration did allow reporters inside some of these facilities.”
“I remember going inside many of them back in 2018, 2019 especially,” he said referring to the Texas facility. “Certainly a lot of questions about why reporters have not gotten more access.”
Tapper couched the border crisis, spreading blame across the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations. He noted that the surge in illegal immigrants was partially due to poverty and crime in the countries they came from, but added that it was also the result of Biden reversing Trump’s stricter policies. He pointed out it was evident that Biden did not have the resources or an adequate plan in place to handle the emerging catastrophe.
“Either way the challenge for the Biden administration, which vowed to treat these migrants humanely, is that the resources still do not appear to be there to back up that promise,” Tapper stated.
Tapper also tore into White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday. He asked her about the photos from Rep. Cuellar: “Does the president believe these conditions are acceptable?” Tapper asked her.
“No, he doesn’t,” Psaki retorted, “and that’s why he wants to move children as quickly as possible out of the Border Patrol facilities. They are not meant for children, and that’s why he wants to open more shelters, he wants to increase and expedite processing at the border, and this is an issue he’s focused on every single day, Jake.”
WH press sec. Jen Psaki on the surge of unaccompanied migrant children at the US-Mexico border and the conditions of facilities: Pres. Biden does not think the conditions are acceptable. “That's why he wants to open more shelters. He wants to increase and expedite processing." pic.twitter.com/HeIpmavnB3
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) March 22, 2021
He went on to corner Psaki on the point that some of the children have been held in custody for more than 72 hours… many of them for more than 10 days. “What are you doing right now to fix this?” he demanded. “Is President Biden perhaps going to ask Congress for emergency funding to help alleviate the conditions there?”
Psaki deflected and said it was “less an issue of funding and more an issue of needing more facilities and expediting the processing,” and that the Biden administration was addressing both of those issues.
Tapper brought up the Wall Street Journal editorial that lambasted the Biden administration for saying that illegal immigrants shouldn’t come to the border, but at the same time not “changing the policy incentives” that enticed them into coming to the United States.
“We know we’re working against a lot of headwinds here and there’s more work we have to do to keep reiterating this is not the time to come,” Psaki demurred.
Tapper concluded his interview by stating he wanted to “circle back” on the topic.
“If you’re sending the signal that kids who come to the United States and have the phone numbers of relatives in their pocket that you want to get them to those houses, isn’t that message that you just made a few minutes ago going to encourage more of this?” enquired Tapper.
“Are you not afraid that when you say that — and I understand the motivation, you want to get these kids into a safe place once they are here — but even just saying that might get some more kids on the road in dangerous situations, no?” added Tapper.
“That’s certainly not our objective,” Psaki said. “What we’re trying to do to prevent so many kids from being in the border patrol facilities…which we all agree that is not a place for kids.”
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