It’s all because of the “nature of” media this is how White House press secretary Jen Psaki blamed the media which she called as a “big driver” behind the push to say there’s a border “crisis.”
On Thursday’s episode of CNN’s podcast, “The Axe Files with David Axelrod,” Psaki blamed the impression that the Southern border has plunged into chaos on media coverage.
During the podcast, Axelrod covered a slew of topics and when he asked Psaki about the border, he noted that “there is obviously a big problem down there.”
“There is this wrestling match you go through several times a week as to whether you’re going to call it a ‘crisis’ or how you’re going to describe it,” he said.
Axelrod added that “this is the sort of game that drives you nuts in Washington. It’s like, ‘I’m going to make you call it a crisis and then we will write a story saying you called it a crisis.’”
“White House in crisis,” Psaki responded, pointing out what she believes could be considered a hot headline.
“That’s a big driver of it.”
“Sometimes the chyrons, the social media leads, they’re looking for the nugget right? And we were pushed and pushed and pushed,” she added.
Psaki then said that migrant surges are “cyclical.”
“We’ve seen surges at the border,” she told Axelrod. “Every time it happens it’s bad.” The White House’s claims that the border surge is “cyclical” or “seasonal,” however, has been widely disputed.
The press secretary then noted that “until we do something to address it over the long term,” it’s “going to keep happening.”
“But really what we had to be focused on was what we were going to do about it and to us, it’s like that wasn’t really a crisis, it was a huge challenge,” Psaki said.
More than two-thirds of Americans say the Biden administration is doing a “very” or “somewhat bad” job handling the illegal immigration crisis at the Southern border.
“A big driver” of those negative impressions, Psaki said, was “the nature of some components of social media and media these days.”
The White House refused to use the term “crisis,” because “we just didn’t want to feed into that on this issue, or really any issue,” she added.
Finding alternatives to the term “crisis” has marked Psaki’s tenure as the Biden administration’s most conspicuous public spokesperson during one of the worst border crises in modern history.
Illegal border crossings have skyrocketed since Biden revoked President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols(MPP), which encouraged migrants to wait in other countries while they applied for asylum status.
The number of illegal immigrants arrested by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has more than doubled since Joe Biden’s inauguration in January. The CBP arrested 172,331 illegal immigrants in March — including 19,000 children — up 71% in one month. Total border crossings in March reached the highest level in 15 years, according to The Washington Post.
Although the Biden administration has tried to suppress photos of unaccompanied minors being held in overcrowded facilities, images have emerged of children unable to observe social distancing.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has admitted illegal immigrants were released into the United States without being tested, or after testing positive for COVID-19.
The American people may also have gotten the impression that the uncontrolled flow of undocumented immigrants across the Southern border is a crisis from border-state Democrats, who have been outspoken about the damage a virtually open border has had on their communities.
“The reality is, is that this is a crisis,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., on Thursday. “We all know it.” Her colleague, Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., stated in late April that the current immigration situation amounts to “a crisis on the border in Arizona and Texas.” And earlier this month Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Tex., said, “There is a border crisis, no ifs about it.”
Cuellar announced that more than 15,000 illegal aliens had missed their court date under the Biden administration’s renewed catch-and-release policy, which amounts to a version of the “honours system.”
Psaki has attempted to blunt the impact of these stories during press briefings. She refused to comment on video footage of human smugglers, known as coyotes, appearing to throw a three-year-old child and a five-year-old child over a border wall. On April 1, Psaki told Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, “[O]ur focus is on sending a clear message to smugglers — to the region – that this is not the time to come.”
She did not specify the right time for human smugglers to come to America.
Rather than a “crisis,” she has used the blander phrase “challenges on the border.”
But Psaki has not always been consistent on the matter herself. During her March 18 briefing, Psaki discussed the “crisis on the border.” When a reporter asked about her use of the term, Psaki immediately walked it back.
President Biden, too, talked about “the crisis that ended up on the border with young people” on April 17. The White House later told the media that Biden’s remarks do not reflect the official position of the Biden-Harris administration.
In the interview with Axelrod, Psaki downplayed the importance of immigration to the American people, saying most have other priorities.
“What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than who’s focused on the pandemic and the economy,” she said.
On April 17, the president referred to “the crisis that ended up on the border with young people,” but according to Psaki, this had been misconstrued.
“The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances are a crisis,” Psaki said during a press briefing two days later. “He does feel that the crisis in Central America, the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from, that that is a situation we need to spend our time, our effort on, and we need to address it if we’re going to prevent more of an influx of migrants from coming in years to come.”
The president’s discussion of a crisis, she suggested, was meant to explain why he had not yet raised the cap on refugees that had been put in place by former President Trump.
President Biden has scrapped several former President Trump’s immigration policies, which included the construction of the border wall and having asylum seekers remain in Mexico instead of staying in the U.S. while they wait for their cases to be heard. The moves have led to a record surge in migrants, including unaccompanied minors, which had recently strained capacity at immigration facilities.