Psaki Pressed On Biden Putting Migrants In Hotels While National Guard Slept In D.C. Parking Garages
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked multiple times during a press conference regarding the escalating border crisis — including the move of President Joe Biden’s administration to house illegal migrants in hotels using taxpayers money, in contrast to the treatment received by National Guard troops who were forced to sleep in Washington, D.C. parking garages earlier this year.
“One of the options that’s being reported over the weekend is spending $86 million on hotel rooms for some migrants and feeding them,” a reporter asked Psaki on Monday. “How did you square that with the National Guard troops who were sleeping in parking garages, and some of them got sick from having contaminated food?”
“That’s a disparity a lot of people are pointing out, that our National Guard was treated one way and then illegal immigrants are going to be put in hotel rooms,” the reporter added.
Reporter: Why are illegal immigrants now getting hotel rooms when the National Guard in DC were left to sleep on the ground in parking garages?
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) March 22, 2021
In an attempt to downplay Biden’s direct involvement in the controversial fiasco, Psaki said the Democratic president reached out as soon as he found out about the dire conditions experienced by troops who have been deployed in the US capital ahead of his inauguration.
“Well, first, let me say that at the time when we became aware of the conditions National Guard troops were in a parking garages, as you noted, the president called the head of the National Guard that day and offered his assistance, offered to play any role that he could play, boosting morale, asking for more aid, making sure they had the right were treated in the way that they deserved for the incredible role they’ve played,” Psaki claimed.
“So I know that was some time ago, but that was the reaction he took at the time.”
Democrats earlier received backlash after photos of National Guards enduring poor conditions and sleeping in parking garages at near-freezing temperatures emerged online as about 14,000 National Guard troops were deployed in Washington D.C. — per the demand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to secure the nation’s capital on Inauguration Day.
Various reports noted however, that the Democratic Speaker did not provide a “logistical plan” on the arrangements for the troops.
Thousands of National Guardsmen were forced to vacate congressional grounds today and are now taking their rest breaks outside and in nearby parking garages, after two weeks of sleepless nights protecting the nation’s capitalhttps://t.co/tQK9R6AJMd
— POLITICO (@politico) January 22, 2021
“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage …” one Guardsman said https://t.co/2QneUNtBDe pic.twitter.com/Q8lZzP7hHV
— POLITICO (@politico) January 22, 2021
Psaki blamed Trump admin for border crisis
When pressed on the situation at the southern border — Psaki denied reports over the weekend that Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) are looking to release illegal border crossers seeking asylum in the country even without a court date as the influx of border crossers have strained the country’s immigration system just two months into the Biden administration.
“That is an inaccurate depiction of what’s happening at the border. So there’s no change in policy. The border remains closed. Families and single adults are being expelled under Title 42 and should not attempt to cross illegally,” Psaki said.
“In the narrow, narrow circumstances in which families can’t be expelled, the family is tested and quarantined as needed and placed in immigration proceedings to commence. In some cases, families are placed in removal proceedings further along in the release process.”
“So if families are going to be deported and they’re awaiting deportation, they don’t need a court date and they don’t need a notice to appear because it has already been determined that they will be sent back to their home countries. Sometimes that takes a minute to ensure there is proper transportation and steps in place to do that.”
Asked for comment on Biden flip flopping on his statement on welcoming immigrants during the campaign while asking them “not to come” now — Psaki pointed finger again at the former Trump administration claiming that they were left with a “broken” immigration system.
“That is a process that is broken. It was broken by the last administration and [President Biden] wants to put in place a process through an immigration bill, through steps taken by our Department of Homeland Security and HHS to improve that process and make it safe, efficient, and effective. We’re going to need some time to do that,” she said.
Psaki also maintained that CDC rules are being followed in border facilities after photos emerged of children huddled around in conditions where it is nearly impossible to socially distance at a time when the US is trying to tide coronavirus cases in the country.
Photos from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary overflow facility in Donna, Texas, show the crowded conditions at the border as facilities not designed for long-term custody continue to fill up https://t.co/YKyyTBhVW7 pic.twitter.com/IHBsqwhLbJ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 22, 2021
“We follow CDC guidelines to ensure that they are kept safe. One of the reasons that it took us some time to have some of these facilities or some of the shelters open to a larger groups of kids is because we wanted to follow those CDC guidelines,” Psaki noted, despite reports that up to 400 children are being placed in a space with a capacity for only 260.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier said that 10% of migrants at the Midland & Carrizo Springs facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.