White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she had no “response” from President Biden on Wednesday to heartbreaking video of a crying boy apparently abandoned at the US-Mexico border – whether Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the crossing.
During her daily press conference, Psaki was asked if Biden had seen the video and would like to respond to the boy, who appears to be about 10 years old and crying to a US Border Police officer that he was ‘scared’ after being dumped by a group of people . fellow migrants and left to fend for themselves in the desert at night.
“I have no immediate response from the president,” said Psaki. “What I can convey is that it is heartbreaking for all of us who have seen that video.
“It reminds us how treacherous the journey is,” she continued. “And it reminds us how important and necessary it is for us to make reforms in our immigration system, to state clearly how dangerous this journey is, and to take steps such as the Central American Minors Program” to provide better care. for young migrants.
Unaccompanied children are often among the tens of thousands of migrants who have come to the border since Biden was inaugurated and the more restrictive immigration policies of his predecessor, President Donald Trump, began to ease.
The youths have been held for days at cramped, prison-like detention centers on the border awaiting transfer to federal shelters elsewhere.
Amid the crisis, both Biden and Harris have pledged to visit the border, but neither has proceeded.
“I don’t have any outings to sketch or view,” Psaki said Wednesday, when asked why the visits were not taken. “Our focus is on solutions, and by making sure we have more beds, we’re making processing more efficient and effective, and doing this in a humane way to keep these kids as safe as possible.”
Last month, Biden publicly ordered Harris to address the chaos, only for the White House to make it clear later that Harris would actually work to resolve “root causes” driving immigration in the long run, not the ongoing crossover crisis. .
But a review of Harris’ work in recent weeks shows little of concrete efforts to address the situation.
However, Psaki insisted on Wednesday that the vice president plans to fix the problem.
“It is definitely an issue that she will continue to commit to, she is at the forefront,” said Psaki. “To be responsible and at the forefront of the Northern Triangle is to work with these countries in the region, address the root causes, work with them on how to address issues such as long-term food insecurity, drought, the COVID-19 pandemic, hurricanes. . , and so on. She is focused on that. “
At another point in the briefing, Psaki did not rule out the possibility that additional construction could take place on the border wall, even though Biden has long criticized the Trump pet project and vowed to stop it if elected.
It was previously reported that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had expressed a private interest in plugging “holes” in the wall.
Psaki left open on Wednesday the possibility that construction was not completed for good, but argued that the hands of the government are legally tied because funding was already committed for the project before Biden took office.
“While construction remains paused, an evaluation is underway looking at the funds allocated,” she said. “There are some parts of the wall that had already been funded to continue building by Congress.
“So we’re working within what’s allowed,” she said. “We don’t believe the wall is an answer. We have never thought that the wall is an answer to tackling the immigration problems at the border. “