Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy confronted the Biden administration on Tuesday over its claim that illegal immigration has decreased by more than 90%.
What is the claim?
On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that under President Joe Biden's leadership, illegal immigration has declined sharply — by "more than 90%."
"When it comes to illegal migration, you've seen it come down by more than 90%, and that’s because of the actions that this president has taken," she claimed.
What happened with Doocy?
The "more than 90%" claim received a lot of attention, but no follow-up at Monday's press briefing. So on Tuesday, Doocy took it upon himself to ask Jean-Pierre exactly from where she derived that figure.
"Where did that number come from?" he asked, noting that Customs and Border Protection says that illegal migration has increased compared to last year.
Jean-Pierre began speaking over Doocy, then chided him, saying, "If the dramatics could come down a little bit."
"What's dramatic about asking a question about —" Doocy shot back, when Jean-Pierre interrupted him again.
"I was speaking to the parolee program," she said. "As you know, the president put in place a parolee program to deal with certain countries on ways that we can limit illegal migration. And the data has shown us that it has gone down by more than 90%. That was what I was speaking to."
When Doocy attempted to respond, Jean-Pierre refused to let him speak and moved to a different reporter.
It's true, according to Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin, that immigration numbers from countries in the parolee program improved — but that improvement was offset by increasing migration from countries not in the program.
"There was a window of time earlier this year where encounters with Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Cubans did temporarily dip 90% after a policy change, but other countries, like China, shot up over 800%. Illegal crossings, including Venezuelans, back at peak highs now," Melugin explained.
In fact, when Biden announced the parolee program about four months ago, Melugin predicted the Biden administration would use the program control the optics of the border crisis while simultaneously exacerbating it.
"This new policy will almost certainly reduce *recorded* monthly border crossing numbers because these nationalities are crossing in massive numbers," he explained in January. "However, migrants not eligible for parole will have no incentive to turn themselves in now, & will evade as 'gotaways'."
Indeed, on the same day that Jean-Pierre claimed immigration had improved, the Border Patrol announced that more than 22,000 migrants had been apprehended in the previous 72 hours.
05/02/23: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierrewww.youtube.com
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