Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) on Tuesday compared the way the media is being handled at the U.S. border to the former Soviet Union.
Bridenstine, who was denied access last week to a detention facility in Oklahoma where more than 1,000 children are being housed, said he'd been invited back on Saturday and that journalists would get to tour the facility on Thursday.
But he criticized the terms for the visit.
"If you would like to take pictures, you can’t do that, but we’ll send pictures to you,” Bridenstine said.
“This is the kind of media that they had in the former Soviet Union,” he added. “This is not the kind of unfettered access that we expect in the United States, when the president is going to ask for $2 billion.”
That's a reference to the supplemental budget request that President Obama is expected to make to Congress on Tuesday. The White House is expected to ask for $2 billion to help process the thousands of unaccompanied children who have crossed into the U.S. illegally, many of them from three Central American countries.
Bridenstine explained the administration must first understand the situation before allocating taxpayer dollars toward it, adding that it could “exacerbate” the crisis by enticing more people to try to cross the border.
He suggested he could support the budget request if it seems like “interior enforcement” might be a solution.
“If it looks like interior enforcement is going to solve this crisis, then I could support that,” he said.
The Republican blamed Obama for the enormous influx, saying the “president has created this perception down in Central American that if you come, you can stay.”