OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had her feet held to the fire by an unlikely opponent in MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
She appeared on his primetime show on Friday when Hayes grilled her on the rumor that President Joe Biden’s administration was going to start detaining families at the border again to assist in scaling back the border crisis prior to the 2024 presidential election.
“There were reports that the White House was considering – or the Department Homeland Security was considering – reintroducing the practice of family detention,” the host said, as he mentioned that this “was harshly criticized” by Biden was campaigning against former President Donald Trump. “Is it true that that’s being considered?”
Jean-Pierre could have chosen to crush the rumor right there, but she danced around it.
“So, what I want to be very clear here – and I’ve answered this question as you know, Chris, many times in the briefing room, and we as an administration have as well – we are not gonna certainly comment on rumors or conversations that are out there that people are reporting on,” the White House press secretary said. “Those are rumors. What we are going to promise is that we’re going to do this – we’re going to move forward with a, with this kind of systems, immigration system, that has been gutted, really, truly gutted by the last administration.”
But Hayes pressed her.
“Just to follow up on that,” the host said. “I think if I said, ‘Are you gonna do child separation again?’ you’d say, ‘No, we’re not gonna do child separation,’ right? I mean, so it just seems like you could say like, ‘We’re not gonna do family detention.’ But you’re not saying that, which is fine as far as it goes, but I just want to be clear.”
But she again avoided giving a straight answer to the question.
“I think what you’re asking me, Chris, is to speak to rumors that are out there,” the press secretary said.
“And that is not something that we’re going to speak to any rumored conversation,” she said. “The moment that I talk about rumors or conversations that are out there, then it opens up a whole other conversation. So just wanna be mindful of that.”
Chris Magnus resigned as the commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner a few months ago. Reports suggested that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and others forced him out and attempted to blame him for many of the failures at the southern border.
“The President has accepted the resignation of Christopher Magnus, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. President Biden appreciates Commissioner Magnus’ nearly forty years of service and the contributions he made to police reform during his tenure as police chief in three U.S. cities. The President thanks Mr. Magnus for his service at CBP and wishes him well,” the White House said in a statement.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Senate-confirmed Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection over the past year. It has been a privilege and honor to be part of your administration. I am submitting my resignation effective immediately but wish you and your administration the very best going forward. Thank you again for this tremendous opportunity,” Magnus said in his resignation letter.
Magnus has joined an organization focused on police reform. He also recently spoke about the ongoing immigration crisis and wasted little time slamming the Biden administration.
“Sadly–right on point,” Magnus tweeted in response to an LA Times article that detailed how President Biden’s administration is proposing a new plan similar to one enacted by the Trump administration, which essentially argued that people who cross the border without permission should not be able to easily apply for asylum in the United States.
Sadly—right on point. https://t.co/98KESs01Ri
— Chris Magnus (@CMAGNUS20011) March 2, 2023
Late last month, Magnus shared a report from the New York Times titled, “Alone and Exploited, Migrant Children Work Brutal Jobs Across the U.S.,” which detailed the “record numbers” of migrants entering America under the Biden administration and how many ended up in “dangerous jobs that violate child labor laws.”