In light of the Customs and Border Patrol's release of data that shows the number of unaccompanied migrant children increased 100 percent from February to March, the White House stated that they will not adjust their policy on welcoming all of these children across the border.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked "If these numbers continue to rise, is there a point where the administration would consider reversing or modifying the policy of accepting all unaccompanied [minor] migrants...?"
"Would we no longer accept—just so I understand the question—children who are under 18? I would say one, the reason for accepting these children is that we feel it is not the humane step to send these kids back on their treacherous journey."
Psaki said that the considerations of the administration centered on what to do with the children once they arrived, and how to get them food, shelter, and education after they cross the border.
A reporter from Univision then brought up the recent occurrences of unaccompanied migrant children being found wandering in the desert on their own, specifically the harrowing journey of a 10-year-old boy who was found sobbing and alone by CBP.
The Nicaraguan child, the reporter said, had travelled with his mother to the border, and they were not allowed to stay in the US. Both were deported to Mexico, though they hail from Central America. Once in Mexico, the boy's mother was kidnapped. The boy, the reporter notes, was freed after a relative paid his ransom.
"This child had been deported with his mom days prior, his mom is kidnapped in Mexico, he was able to free himself through a family member who paid ransom and that's how he ended up back in the US. So I have two questions for you," she said.
"Why does the US government continue to deport these people back to Mexico to dangerous situations and not to their countries of origin, and the second question is the President back in October 2020 in a conversation with Univision said he would grant a deportation moratorium to Nicaraguans as well as as Venezuelans and Cubans, as well as other groups, and not for Nicaraguans, do you have an update on that?"
Psaki didn't have an update on that. "In terms of deportations, as you know, it's handled on a case by case basis," and she did not have an answer, she said on this "specific case."
The reporter said that it's not just this one case, but other families as well are being sent to Mexico and not to their home countries. "Do you know why?"
"I don't have any more information," Psaki said, noting that they are all handled on a case by case basis and that due to privacy considerations, more information would not be forthcoming as regards specific cases.