- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Jen Psaki says the Biden administration is “not going to confirm” reports that the rate of unaccompanied migrant children at the southern U.S. border with Mexico has tripled in recent weeks.

The White House press secretary told reporters who cannot get the Department of Homeland Security to confirm the statistics that they would receive no help from her podium getting an answer.

“All of this is taking place during a global pandemic that has impacted other countries’ economies, placing undue hardship on its people just as it did in the United States,” Ms. Psaki said when asked about the surge in asylum seekers. “So there are [sic] also a range of factors that are leading individuals to come to the border. 

“Why won’t you confirm that number?” a reporter asked. “That’s a very important number.” 

“We’ve been very clear that there is an increase, that there are more children coming across the border than we have facilities for at this point in time,” Ms. Psaki replied. “Those numbers are tracked by the Department of Homeland Security so I’m just suggesting that you talk to them about specifics.”

“We have, Jen,” the reporter countered. “They won’t confirm the numbers.” 

The Biden spokeswoman, for all intents and purposes, washed her hands of the matter.

“Well, I would encourage you to go back to them and ask them again,” she said. “We’re not going to confirm them from the White House. It’s not our program. It’s the Department of Homeland Security’s [purview]. … We certainly encourage transparency, but what I also think is important is to talk about what the root causes are here and what we’re doing from a policy standpoint to try and address the challenges that we’re facing.” 

The New York Times reported Monday that more than 3,250 unaccompanied migrant children have been detained in the past three weeks; 1,360 of the children were held longer than a 72-hour window permitted by law. 

Children held longer than 72 hours must be transferred to a shelter.

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