Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary, claimed illegal immigrants are not just “walking across” to the southern border. This has angered Border Patrol agents who see hundreds of migrants crossing the border each day.
Jean-Pierre was asked Monday why illegal immigrants are allowed to enter the U.S. but not vaccinated against COVID-19, while a foreign national travelling on a plane is not.
Jean-Pierre continued to describe what the administration did in terms of border security, including increased DHS funding and cooperation from other countries. This contrasts with the previous administration’s emphasis on building a wall.
Border Patrol agents are at the frontlines of dealing with migrants crossing the border in large numbers. Border Patrol agents are usually able to process and release migrants who have been apprehensioned. In the meantime, more than half a billion illegal immigrants have evaded Border Patrol in this fiscal year.
The remarks shocked agents.
Fox spoke to a number of agents who were not sure if the comments were made out of ignorance or deliberate lies.
Others noticed the White House’s reluctance at the border. President Biden hasn’t visited it, while Vice President Kamala Harris was there in summer 2021.
These comments were made by agents just days after Brandon Judd, National Border Patrol Council, accused the administration deflecting on this issue. He also said that it showed the White House doesn’t care about the border crisis.
This controversy arises as the border was close to another 200 000 migrant encounters on July 5, the fifth consecutive month where these numbers have approached or exceeded the 200,000 mark.
This fiscal year has seen more than 2 million migrants encounters, surpassing the record-setting 1.7million in fiscal 2021. Some are being returned under Title 42 public health restrictions, which the White House seeks to eliminate. However, most of them are currently being allowed into the U.S.
Biden’s “root cause” strategy to target what it considers are the main drivers of migration has been criticized by Republicans. Instead, Republicans blame the administration for causing the crisis by stopping Trump-era border policies such as wall construction and the “Remain-in-Mexico” program. They also lax internal enforcement.
Biden’s administration has noted the recent anti-smuggling campaign and its efforts to reduce asylum times. It has stated repeatedly that it is a long-term strategy, and won’t lead to short-term results — a claim Jean-Pierre reiterated on Monday.