Cruz presses Biden on media access for border tour

Cruz presses Biden on media access for border tour
© © Getty Images

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (R-Texas) is criticizing President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE over the federal government's refusal to let independent journalists view migrant detention facilities along the southwest border with Mexico. 

“As part of our oversight duties as Senators, I and 14 of my colleagues will travel to the border this week to talk to the brave men and women on the ground who are working every today to stop this crisis and secure our border," Cruz said in a letter to the White House this week. “But it is not enough for members of the Senate to see what is happening—the American people must see. That is why I requested that members of the media be allowed to join us. But your administration clearly and emphatically refused to offer press access. This is outrageous and hypocritical.”

Cruz accused the Biden administration of "hiding the truth" from the America people. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"The press and the American people deserve more than denials and excuses from a podium," Cruz wrote. "They deserve to see and understand the crisis for themselves with the help of reporters who are free and independent from your administration.”

The Biden administration has come under increasing scrutiny for its lack of media access to border facilities. When pressed on the matter last week, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden injects new momentum into filibuster fight White House: Biden drove by border on 2008 campaign trip Red Cross says Afghan humanitarian crisis too big for aid groups to handle alone MORE cited health concerns tied to the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason why images from the facilities were not being released to the public.

"We remain committed to transparency. I don't have an update for you on the timeline for access, but it's certainly something we support," Psaki told reporters.

Federal immigration authorities have cited public health restrictions stemming from the coronavirus as reasoning for not letting journalists view migrant detention facilities. 

"We're working on providing access so that individuals can see what conditions inside a Border Patrol facility are like," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "Certainly, reporters can see Health and Human Services shelters where children are housed for longer periods of time." 

Mayorkas's visit to the southern border was closed to press covering the trip. Some Democratic lawmakers have suggested it is inappropriate for journalists to see what goes on inside migrant detention centers.