Fox News reporter Peter Doocy pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki about immigration Monday as the crisis worsens at the US-Mexico border.
"Why is it that large numbers of single adult men are being released to the United States just hours after being apprehended at the southern border?" Doocy asked.
Fox News footage from Sunday shows a mass release of single adult illegal immigrants transported into the United States through Texas via a small, unmarked office. The on-the-ground video shows buses contracted by the federal government dropping off dozens of mostly men at a parking garage in Brownsville, Texas.
Black tarps were set up to obstruct the public's view with a makeshift sign that reads "Border Patrol drop-off" above it, Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin reported.
The group of migrants released from federal custody then re-emerged moments later as multiple taxi cabs appeared to collect the travelling individuals, who were then shuttled off to nearby Harlingen Airport.
Several of the migrants, almost all men, told Fox News of the illegal border crossings earlier in the morning when they'd paid about $2,000 per individual to cartel smugglers. Some were flying to the cities of Miami, Houston, and Atlanta.
Psaki insisted that she was not sure of the "specifics" of what Doocy was referring to.
"What I can tell you in terms of what our policy is and how we're approaching the border is that we continue to be under Title 42. Migrants who cannot be expelled under Title 42 are placed into immigration proceedings and one of those avenues could be placement in an alternative to detention program in the interior of the United States," Psaki explained during the White House press briefing.
Single adults, who have long been the easiest demographic to deport, are expelled under Trump-era Title 42 public health protections, according to Fox News. However, the Biden administration kept Title 42 expulsions in place but is not applying the removals to unaccompanied minors or most migrant families.
Psaki added that "sometimes that means moving migrants to other parts of the United States to move to different detention facilities where they wait for next steps in the immigration process such as a court hearing, and are required to check in with the local ICE office. So that is something—that's certainly something that is happening out there in the country, and it's consistent with our policy."
In a statement to Fox News, the city of Brownsville said its Office of Emergency Management, through federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), works to facilitate "the transfer of these migrants to their final destination by allowing them to use services to contact their families, NGOs, or a taxicab."
The statement confirmed that the parking garage serves as a staging area for migrants to be given travel information to "facilitate" the transfer. Migrants can also be given a health screening there, a spokesperson told Fox News.
"They're supposed to check in at a local ICE office, but we know that just between March and August, which is a very small sample size, DHS says more than 47,000 of these migrants that were given notices to report did not show up, so why let them into the US unsupervised in the first place?" Doocy further questioned.
"Well, again, we have a stringent protocols and processes that we implement here that includes expelling individuals who come in under Title 42 given we are still in a global pandemic, and includes those who do not show up will be subject to the repercussions of that. So that is the policy we're implementing from our Homeland Security Department," Psaki concluded.
Doocy didn't hesitate to grill the top Biden administration official less than 24 hours after President Joe Biden had hurled an expletive at the White House correspondent for asking a pointed question on inflation Monday evening.
The president called Doocy "a stupid son of a b*tch" just after the press pool was cleared out of the event, where the commander-in-chief met with the Competition Council to discuss ways the administration can lower prices for American families.
Doocy, who laughed the taunt off, later revealed on his home network that Biden reached out "within about an hour" via phone call following the colorful exchange in the East Room. "And now we'll just wait to see if the White House has to bleep that on the transcript," Doocy said at the time before the White Houser uploaded its official transcript of Biden's remarks, including the president's outburst.