President Joe Biden said the press will have “full access” to the migrant facilities near the southern border but couldn’t provide an answer for when that would happen.
At his first formal press conference as commander-in-chief Thursday afternoon, Biden was asked by Kristen Welker of NBC News when journalists will be let into the facilities. Reports of these facilities have described cramped conditions and poor accommodations for migrants—especially unaccompanied children—that have trekked to the U.S.-Mexico border during the massive surge in crossings since January.
“Given the conditions that were just laid out at the migrant facilities at the U.S. border, will you commit to allowing journalists to have access to the facilities that are overcrowded, moving forward?” Welker asked.
“I will commit when my plan—very shortly—is underway to let you have access to not just me, but to other facilities as well,” the president said.
MORE ON THE BORDER: Migrants tell Sara Carter about their harrowing journey to the border
“How soon will journalists be able to have access to the facilities?” Welker pressed him. “We’ve obviously been allowed to be inside one, but we haven’t seen the facilities in which children are packed together to really give the American people a chance to see that. Will you commit to transparency on this issue?”
“I will commit to transparency, and as soon as I am in a position to be able to implement what we are doing right now,” Biden replied, then going on to explain that one of the reasons he has yet to visit the facilities himself is because he doesn’t “want to become the issue” due to his large Secret Service team following him.
“You will have full access to everything once we get this thing moving,” he added.
This didn’t satisfy Welker, who had moderated the final debate between him and then-President Donald Trump and was generally praised for keeping the pair in relatively line.
“Just to be clear,” she pressed, “how soon will that be, Mr. President?”
“I don’t know, to be clear,” Biden replied.
MORE ON THE BORDER: ‘Not today’: Kamala Harris laughs when asked if she plans to visit the border
On Wednesday, journalists were given limited access to a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, as The New York Post noted. However, the Biden administration has not allowed the press into more overcrowded Border Patrol camps.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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DHS Secretary Mayorkas Says We Cannot Remove ‘11 Million Undocumented Individuals’ Unlawfully in U.S.
Troubling details were unearthed during the questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by the Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley asked Mayorkas about a DHS memo from September 30 which reads: “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen will not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”
“Does that reasoning apply to the [1.2] million illegal immigrants who have received due process and been given a final order of removal by an immigration judge?” Grassley asked Mayorkas.
“We cannot remove 1.2 million individuals, nor can we remove more than 11 million undocumented individuals, individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States, who might not have final orders of removal” Mayorkas answered.
Mayorkas also stated that he had issued the due process policy after drawing on “tremendous experience not only as a member of the Department of Homeland Security but as a federal prosecutor.”
Grassley pressed Mayorkas, asking, “should any of them be removed?”
“Of course,” Mayorkas said. “I do believe that individuals who pose a public safety threat, who pose a national security threat, who pose a border security threat, should be removed, and we should be smart and effective in our use of resources, and we should focus on the well-being of our communities and prioritize individuals for removal.”
In his opening statements, Grassley addressed Mayorkas and stated, “When you allow the ACLU and open-borders immigration activists rather than career law enforcement professionals to dictate the terms of your immigration and border policies, then you shouldn’t be surprised when record-shattering numbers of people start showing up at the border to take advantage of that.”
Grassley continued, “When you run DHS like it’s an ‘Abolish ICE’ fan club, you shouldn’t be surprised when you have an illegal immigration crisis on your hands.”
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