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White House says it will give press access to border facilities

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday that reporters would gain access in the near future to Border Patrol facilities being used to house unaccompanied minors who migrated to the U.S.

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Psaki faced questions from host Chris Wallace over the media’s continued lack of access to facilities where by law children and teens are required to be held for 72 hours. In recent weeks, some have been held for as long as 10 days. 

Psaki said that the Biden administration was “absolutely committed” to allowing reporters and cameras in those facilities.

“We want to provide access into the Border Patrol facilities,” Psaki said. “We are mindful that we are in the middle of the pandemic. We want to keep the kids safe. We want to keep the staff safe.”

“We are committed to allowing cameras into Border Patrol facilities,” she added after Wallace accused the White House of being “less transparent than the Trump administration” in terms of media access at Border Patrol facilities.

Psaki also countered Wallace’s question about the rising number of youths in Border Patrol and Health and Human Services (HHS) custody, which is partially contributing to the delays in rehousing migrant children or reuniting them with their families.

“Our objective is to take a different approach than the last administration,” she said, arguing that the Trump White House in many cases sent young children back to situations where they were unsafe.

“What we’re really talking about is children, and we’re handling that in the most humane … way,” Psaki continued. She said of children who were held by Border Patrol and HHS, “It does not mean they get to stay in the United States. It means their cases are adjudicated.”

The Biden administration has faced growing pressure from the media and Republicans over the number of migrants, particularly children, in U.S. custody since the president took office in January and moved to reverse some Trump administration policies.

Last week, a group of GOP senators traveled to the border to highlight the conditions and blame the Biden administration’s policies aimed at humane treatment of immigrants for the surge in arrivals and apprehensions at the border.

Tags Chris Wallace Immigration Jen Psaki Joe Biden Unaccompanied minors

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