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Reporter confronts Psaki over inhumane conditions at migrant facilities: 'How is the administration not stopping that today?'


'Why is that something that's not being outlawed right now?'

Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was squarely confronted Monday over the Biden administration's handling of the migrant crisis unfolding at the southern United States border.

What is going on?

Despite virtue-signaling from Democrats, unaccompanied migrant children are facing the same tragic living conditions under President Joe Biden's leadership that Democrats criticized during the Trump presidency.

The situation is so dire, in fact, that children are being forced to sleep on the floor and some can only take one shower per week. One facility in Donna, Texas, even reached more than 700% capacity. The Biden administration is now planning to house migrant teenagers in massive facilities like the Dallas Convention Center.

All the while, Psaki and other administration officials have flatly refused to call the situation a "crisis."

What happened Monday?

PBS' Yamiche Alcindor confronted Psaki over the administration's handling of the crisis, demanding that Psaki answer for the inhumane living conditions being forced on migrant children.

"There were lawyers who interviewed some children that were in facilities. The children described sleeping on the floor, being hungry, not seeing the sun for days. How is that acceptable for the Biden administration to keep children in those sorts of conditions given the fact that you said you were an administration that was going to be more humane than the previous one?" Alcindor asked.

In response, Psaki called the situation "heartbreaking" — then blamed former President Donald Trump.

"We are trying to work through what was a dismantled and unprepared system because of the role of the last administration," Psaki said.

But Alcindor pushed back, noting that migrant children are "hungry, sleeping on the floor, [and] not being allowed outside for days at a time."

"Why is that something that's not being outlawed right now? How is the administration not stopping that today?" Alcindor asked.

Psaki responded by admitting the living conditions are not "acceptable," but said the real "challenge" is that "there are not that many options."

"The options here are: Send the kids back on the journey, send them to unvetted homes, or work to expedite moving them into shelters where they can get health treatment by medical doctors, educational resources, legal counseling, mental health counseling. That's exactly what we're focused on doing," Psaki said.

"We have a lot of critics, but many of them are not putting forward a lot of solutions," Psaki complained.

Anything else?

Biden campaigned on reversing his predecessor's deterrent immigration policies. Critics say the reversal of policy is contributing to the growing migrant crisis.

"You just can't say, 'Yeah, yeah, let everybody in' — because then we're affected down there at the border," Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said recently. "The bad guys know how to market this."

In fact, migrant caravans that traveled north over the winter voiced expectation that Biden would honor his commitment to welcome migrants.

"We will advocate that the Biden government honors its commitments," Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a group representing migrants, said in January.

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