Psaki says no to free smartphones, paid monthly plans for US citizens, only for illegal immigrants

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(Video Credit: The White House)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki deflected from answering a question by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy during her press briefing on Friday when he asked her if the Biden administration will give Americans smartphones since they are providing them to illegal immigrants in order to track them.

Doocy asked if the administration had a “plan to give free smartphones to U.S. citizens” as they have reportedly been freely handing them out to those illegally entering the U.S.

“Should we not be tracking migrants who irregularly cross the border?” Psaki asked, expertly avoiding the question.

“Well, it’d be great if anybody that wanted a free phone and a free monthly plan could get one,” Doocy sarcastically told her. “So is that going to be an offer for everybody or just people that walk into the country illegally?”

“Well, Peter, as when we talked about this the other day, what I noted to you is that we have a range of means of tracking individuals who irregularly migrate to the country in order to ensure that they are meeting their notice to appear obligations and that they are appearing in court when they should appear in court,” Psaki bit back. “Phones is one of them.”

(Video Credit: The White House)

Wednesday, Psaki sparred with Doocy over free smartphones being given to illegal immigrants as they crossed the border purportedly to track them. He asked her bluntly if they wouldn’t just throw them away to avoid surveillance.

“Our team in Texas says you guys are starting to give smartphones to border crossers hoping they’ll use the phones to check in or to be tracked. Which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the states?” Doocy asked.

“Well I think you of all people since you’ve asked a range of questions about this topic over time, would recognize that we need to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are and we can track and we can check in with them,” Psaki snipped at the Fox News correspondent.

“The Alternatives to Detention Program, which is what we utilize, has three unique forms of technology to monitor participants enrolled in the program,” she testily explained. “Telephonic is one of them, which uses a participant’s voice to create a biometric voiceprint during the enrollment process. And when the participant has a check-in call, their voice is compared to the voiceprint.”

Asked about the initiative on Wednesday, Psaki dismissed concerns that the phones would be ditched by recipients and claimed that handing out smartphones “is all part of our effort as individuals come into the United States and individuals who are entering who will proceed to immigration proceedings to monitor and track where they are.”

Bill Melugin of Fox News first reported on the smartphone giveaway.

“I’m told many of them are given these phones by the government to track them and allow them to communicate w/ ICE, but there’s no way to stop them from being tossed,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

Psaki was also asked about Biden going to the southern border and vaguely responded that he would soon be “traveling the country.”

She said she had “nothing to predict” or “specifics” on whether the president would make his first trip to the border as he lifts Title 42 prompting what many warn will be a massive surge of illegal immigrants to swarm into the United States.


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