After weeks of referring to the situation along the southern border as a “challenge” and providing answers unsatisfactory to many, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it a “crisis”. Although, she later corrected herself to call it a “challenge”.
This is the first time a senior Biden administration official has called it a “crisis,” albeit accidentally.
During Thursday’s daily press briefing, Psaki and CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe were having a back-and-forth over talks between the United States and Mexico about shipments of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, as well as about Mexico helping stem the flow of migrants. It should be noted that the U.S. plans to ship doses to Canada, too.
O’Keefe asked if the U.S. had set “expectations” for the vaccine agreement linked to its southern neighbor’s collaboration in tackling the problems along their shared border.
“There have been expectations set outside of, unrelated to any vaccine doses or requests for them, that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border,” Psaki replied. “There have been requests, unrelated, for doses of these vaccines. Every relationship has multiple layers of conversation that are happening at the same time.”
MORE ON THE BORDER: Biden’s message to migrants: ‘Don’t come over’
Later in the briefing, Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann asked about her use of the word “crisis”. Psaki quickly responded, cutting him off, to clarify it as “challenges on the border.”
Wegmann then inquired if that “crisis” language reflected any changes in the administration’s view of the the border situation, to which she replied: “Nope.”
MORE ON THE BORDER: Arizona AG: Biden ‘incentivizing’ migrants ‘to break the law and come here’
Notably, Psaki has been pressed previously about hers and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas‘s refusal to call the situation a “crisis”.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.
The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.
Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.
“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.
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