White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had another rough go of it with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy. On Tuesday, Doocy tried to pin her down on the Biden administration’s continuation of the juvenile immigrant detention program formerly named as “kids in cages.”
“This is not kids being kept in cages,” Psaki exploded. “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’s 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 are going to do here as an administration.”
Now, when Doocy circles back to the question at today’s press conference, you can see Psaki instantly wince upon hearing the same line-of-questioning.
This is the “circling back” we were promised, Ms. Psaki.
“You said it was not ‘kids in cages,’” Doocy led in. “We have seen some photos now of containers. Is there a better description? Is it ‘kids in containers’ instead of ‘kids in cages’? What is the White House’s description of this facility?”
“Well,” she responded. “Let me give a broader description of what is happening here. We have a number of unaccompanied minors, children who are coming into the country without their families.”
Why would they be doing that? Would it have anything to do with the Biden administration’s restoration of DACA’s anti-law enforcement guidelines?
“What we are not doing,” she continued. “Which the last administration did, was separate those kids, rip them from the arms of their parents at the border. We are not doing that. That is immoral. And that is not the approach of this administration.”
Donald Trump denied as president that he was in favor of child separation, while claiming that he put a stop to it.
“I’m the one that stopped it,” Trump said. “President Obama had child separation.”
Obama-era officials denied that the president they served under separated children from parents.
“The Obama administration did not do that, no. We did not separate children from their parents,” former Obama domestic policy adviser Cecilia Muñoz told NPR. “This is a new decision, a policy decision put in place by the attorney general,” which Muñoz said “puts us in league with the most brutal regimes in the world’s history.”
At a presidential debate in 2020, then-President Trump repeated the accusation of the Obama administration.
“They built cages,” he said. “You know, they used to say I built the cages. And then they had a picture in a certain newspaper and it was a picture of these horrible cages and they said, look at these cages, President Trump built them. And then it was determined they were built in 2014. That was him. They built cages.”