OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A pair of Fox News hosts appeared bewildered by a statement from White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki indicating that despite the ongoing migrant crisis at the U.S. border, the administration was not looking to change course.
Here’s a partial transcript:
HEMMER: “On the border now. It did not come up yesterday. Yet in 2021 we believe there were 2 million encounters at the southern border. Just blowing away all kinds of records. There does not seem to be much of a suggestion that the policy is going to change. Should we expect 2 million more encounters in the year 2022 now?”
PSAKI: “Well, I’m surprised, Bill as well, because it was a nearly two-hour press conference and people asked whatever they wanted, including some crazy questions in there. But I will say, Bill, what the president’s view is, is that we need to do more. We need to fix our broken immigration system.
That means smarter security at the border. It also means a more moral approach to how we are treating people when they come across the border. Now, some of those confrontations at the border mean we still have issues in these countries that have been going on for a long time.
This is why we see surges every couple of years, where people have challenging economic circumstances and they are not — and we haven’t done enough to address the root causes. That’s part of what we’re focused on as well. But we need to address this from many fronts.”
Record numbers of migrant encounters have been seen along the U.S.-Mexico border practically since President Biden was inaugurated.
In March, Vice President Kamala Harris was placed in charge of handling the border crisis, but critics have said she has done little to nothing to address the issue.
Former Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tore into both Biden and Harris in September regarding the border situation.
“@JoeBiden @KamalaHarris, the humanitarian and national security crisis on the southern border is the direct result of your open-border policy. As I said in my 2020 presidential campaign, we can’t have a secure nation if we don’t secure our borders,” she wrote on Twitter.
Gabbard followed up that tweet with another saying that traffickers and cartels were benefitting from the chaos at the border and that Biden should reinstate Donald Trump’s “Remain In Mexico” policy.
“The Biden/Harris open-door policy has been a disaster. It needs to end now. The main beneficiaries of open borders are the gangs, cartels, and human traffickers. The Trump policy of having people wait on the other side of the border worked and needs to be reinstated,” she said.
The Biden/Harris open-door policy has been a disaster. It needs to end now. The main beneficiaries of open borders are the gangs, cartels, and human traffickers. The Trump policy of having people wait on the other side of the border worked and needs to be reinstated.
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) September 23, 2021
In their interview with Psaki, Hemmer and Perino, the latter once a White House press secretary herself under President George W. Bush, also asked about Biden’s COVID policies.
Noting that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced recently he would roll back the country’s mask mandates and COVID passports by March, Perino asked Psaki if Biden had similar plans in store.
“Will the president provide America an off-ramp to COVID and especially for those the unvaccinated?” asked Perino, per Fox News, clarifying that, although she agrees with vaccination, some Americans feel they have become “scapegoats and second-class citizens.”
The network noted:
Psaki responded by appearing to assuage concerns that COVID-19 restrictions have been partisan in nature, stating that 75% of Americans have been vaccinated and that “mathematically” not all of them are Democrats and/or Biden supporters.
“What the president’s trying to do is protect the country, protect people from death,” said Psaki.