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(UPDATE) Reports said Kamala Harris children's book placed in care packages for migrant kids; but gov't says only one copy was donated

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

UPDATE, Tues. 10:35 a.m.: An early version of Newsweek's story titled "White House Distances Itself From Kamala Harris Book in Migrant Welcome Packs" indicated that neither the city of Long Beach, California, nor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services immediately responded to its request for comment, according to the Internet Archive.

But an updated version of Newsweek's story — which doesn't include a note that it was updated — added comments from Long Beach and HHS indicating that only a single copy of Harris' book was donated, and neither entity paid for it.

"The referenced book was one of an assortment of hundreds of titles donated to the Long Beach Emergency Intake Site as part of a City of Long Beach new books and toys drive," HHS said a statement to the magazine. "No taxpayer dollars were used to purchase Vice President Harris' book."

A spokesman for Long Beach had this to say to Newsweek: "The City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, has a citywide book and toy drive that is ongoing to support the migrant children who are temporarily staying in Long Beach at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelter. The single book you reference is one of hundreds of various books that have already been donated. The book was not purchased by HHS or the City."

The magazine's updated story still references "care packages that included Vice President Kamala Harris' children's book" for "migrant kids."

Fox News' story contains no statements from HHS or Long Beach and indicates as of Tuesday morning that HHS couldn't be reached for comment.

A story from the Washington Post includes statements from HHS or Long Beach, but it goes beyond Newsweek's updated story, saying in its headline that "No, officials are not handing out Harris's picture book to migrant kids."

Original story below

While a children's book penned by Vice President Kamala Harris has been placed in care packages for unaccompanied migrant children, the White House has denied involvement, Newsweek reported.

What are the details?

Photos have spread online of "Superheroes Are Everywhere" in packets at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in California, which has been tapped as an influx facility, but a White House official told the magazine that it's part of a community-organized donation effort to collect books and toys — and that Harris had no idea her book would be included.

Newsweek said the city of Long Beach didn't immediately respond to its request for comment.

Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki about the books and whether Harris is getting any money for distributed copies — to little avail:

Psaki said she'd have to check on the reports — but that she hears "it's a good book."

Fox News' Laura Ingraham quipped on Twitter that "forcing the migrants to read VP Kamala Harris's book may be an innovative way to get them to self-deport."

More pushback

Republicans have criticized the inclusion of Harris' book in the care packages — particularly because she hasn't visited the border despite President Joe Biden having designated Harris a point person on handling the crisis there.

GOP U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina had this to say Monday:

"Kamala is now saying 'we're making progress' on Biden's border crisis," he tweeted. "Really? Is a 900% increase in apprehensions from last year and a 233% increase in fentanyl smuggling 'progress' to you? She must be referring to her progress on book sales..."

Fox News also reported that a White House official said Harris wasn't aware of the welcome packs. The cable network added that up to 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children from Mexico can be housed at the facility.

Both Fox News and Newsweek said Health and Human Services could not be reached for comment on who is purchasing the books for the children.

Anything else?

The Biden administration reportedly is planning to increase the number of illegal immigrants released into the United States despite this crisis surrounding the historic influx, a Fox News report said.

And while Biden finally admitted there is a crisis on the border recently, his own administration walked back his remarks by saying the word "crisis" is not reflective of the "administration's official position," but rather the situation is a "challenge."

This story has been updated to reflect that HHS and the city of Long Beach, California, said that a single copy of Harris' book was donated, and neither entity paid for it.

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