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Reporter Peter Doocy asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki a question that's been on many people's minds on Tuesday concerning the illegal immigration of children across the southern US border with Mexico.
"Is the Biden administration reopening a temporary facility for migrant children in Texas?"
"It's a temporary reopening," Psaki said, "because of COVID-19, our intention is very much to close it, but we wanted to ensure that we can follow COVID safety, COVID protocols, as unaccompanied minors come into the United States."
Doocy pointed out that this is the "same facility that was open for a month in the Trump administration, summer 2019, that is when Joe Biden said 'under Trump there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages.' And Kamala Harris said basically 'babies in cages is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government, so how is this any different than that?"
"We very much feel that way—let me be clear here, there's a pandemic going on. I'm sure you're not suggesting that we have children right next to each other in ways that are not COVID safe, are you?" Psaki replied.
"I'm suggesting that Kamala Harris said that this facility, putting people in this facility, 'is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government,' and that Joe Biden said 'there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages.' Now it's not under Trump, it's under Biden.
"This is not kids being kept in cages," Psaki said. "This is kids, this is a facility that was opened, that's going to follow the same standards as other HHS facilities. It is not a replication, certainly not, that was never our intention of replicating the immigration policies of the past administration, but we are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border. That would be inhumane, that is not what we're going to do here as an administration," she said.
The administration's reasoning is all about COVID, that pesky pandemic that allows our nation's leaders to change all the rules.
"Because of COVID-19 protocols," Psaki said, "like social distancing requirements, the capacity at existing Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters has been significantly reduced, because you can't have a child in every bed, there has to be spacing. And we abide by that spacing to protect the kids who are living in those facilities for a short period of time.
"And to ensure the health and safety of these kids, HHS took steps to open an emergency facility, to add capacity, where they can provides the care they need before they are placed safely with families and sponsors."