Biden admin can’t say how many migrants have been released

Biden admin can't say how many migrants have been released

As the migrant crisis in Del Rio, Texas continued to spiral Wednesday, the White House was unable to say when, if ever, President Biden has visited the southern border — and relatedly failed to answer how many migrants apprehended have been released into the US. 

Fox News Correspondent Peter Doocy pressed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on whether Biden has ever in his life been to the southern border, saying “I’ve been looking all morning and we cannot find any records of him at visiting the border as president, vice president, senator, or even as a concerned citizen, why would that be?”

Psaki could not provide a date and said she would check. 

Doocy pushed further, noting that the president has made a point in the past to travel around the country when areas are affected by wildfires or hurricanes to see the needs of the local community. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 22, 2021.
Jen Psaki was pressed for information on whether President Biden has ever been to the southern border.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

“Well first of all, Peter, I think the situation at the border is the result of a broken system. And the President certainly relies on his experience,” Psaki said. “So, whether it was the work he did to address root causes as vice president, his efforts when he was in the Senate to support comprehensive immigration reform, [steps] that at a time or done-being done and work toward in a bipartisan way, something that certainly we think should be the case today.

“He uses all of these experiences to inform how he governs how he approaches challenges, and certainly he looks again at the last four years and the separation of children who are ripped from the arms of their parents as a way he does not want to proceed.”

Psaki was also pressed on who would have the data revealing how many migrants have been released into the US or returned to their home countries, amid reports that thousands of Haitians have been released into the US.

Migrants exit a Border Patrol van after arriving at the Val Verde Humanitarian Coalition facility on September 22, 2021 in Del Rio, Texas.
Migrants exit a Border Patrol van after arriving at the Val Verde Humanitarian Coalition facility on September 22, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

She declined to provide that data, saying the Department of Homeland Security would have the most accurate numbers.

However, earlier on Wednesday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was for a second day unable to provide those numbers to a congressional hearing, this time blaming his long hours. 

“Why is it so hard to keep track of a simple number like that?” one reporter asked Psaki. “Why can’t you give it? Why can’t he give it? It’s been two days now he’s been asked.”

“I’m certain they will provide it,” Psaki said of the DHS. “It’s an absolutely fair question to ask, and I’m certain he just wanted to have the most up to date numbers to provide.”

President Joe Biden
Jen Psaki could not provide a date for when President Biden visited the border.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The Biden administration’s lack of answers comes days after thousands of migrants illegally crossed the border into Del Rio, Texas, and over 10,000 remained camped under a bridge waiting to be processed, with as many as 15,000 reported at the height of the mass inflitration. 

DHS began deporting several thousand of those under the bridge over the weekend, with officials saying there will be one to three deportation flights a day. 

However, reports have emerged that many of the Haitian migrants have been released into the US. A US official told the Associated Press that in recent days, Haitians have been freed on “a very, very large scale” and given notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days.

The Biden administration has further attempted to mitigate the migrant surge by emphasizing the southern border is closed and secure. 

“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed and you will be endangering your life and your family’s lives. This administration is committed to developing safe, orderly and humane pathways for migration. This is not the way to do it,” Mayorkas said from Del Rio on Monday.

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