White House press secretary Jen Psaki has admitted that the Biden administration has been transporting migrant children to American cities without notifying local officials.
Fox News' Peter Doocy asked Psaki about this at in the White House briefing room on Friday, saying that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said he was asked if Tennessee would take in unaccompanied minors who had illegally crossed the US-Mexico border but that he'd declined.
But in recent days, Doocy told Psaki that there have been reports that at least four planes filled with unaccompanied minors landed in the state of Tennessee, some of those touching down in the middle of the night. "Can you explain what's going on there?" Doocy asked.
"Well, as we have been very clear about, our objective is to unite these unaccompanied children—children under the age of 18—with sponsor families," Psaki answered.
"So children have been traveling through Tennessee. They are simply on their way to unite with relatives and sponsors—to meet sponsors in the state," Psaki continued, "or just traveling through Tennessee until they reach another destination to unite with family members or legal sponsors."
Psaki stated that Tennessee is geographically in the middle of several surrounding states "where some flights have gone through as children are moving to other destinations."
Doocy noted that the unaccompanied children being brought to the state is something the Tennessee governor specifically declined to allow. Doocy broached the idea that the case could be an instance of "federal officials sneaking past the state-level officials."
"I think I'm confirming here that Tennessee is a state that is right near the middle of the country and some kids have travel through there to get through their destination and we have been very clearly that our objective is to treat these kids humanely and get them to safe homes, especially homes of loved ones," Psaki said, refusing to address the governor's concerns.
Migrant children have been seen arriving at an airport in Tennessee, leading to public responses from the governor and the state's senators, WRCB-TV reported.
A video shows migrant children arriving late Saturday night at Chattanooga’s Wilson Air Center, heading to board charter buses on the runway.
The footage sparked criticism from Sen. Marsha Blackburn and other members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, asking for transparency from the Biden administration. "Weeks ago, we declined the Biden Administration’s request to house unaccompanied minors & called on the administration to secure the border & stop scattering children across the country," tweeted the Republican governor.
Lee accused the Biden administration of cutting off transparency and emboldening "one of the worst human trafficking crises we’ve seen at our border in the last 20 years," after officials demanded answers. "Tennesseans deserve to know who is coming into our state," he declared Thursday on Twitter.
"Tennesseans deserve answers & they deserve them now," tweeted Sen. Bill Hagerty with similar sentiments. "I have warned that Biden’s failure at the border would result in a systematic resettling of migrants in our communities. A new reality is happening in our country—every town is now a border town."