White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has defended the Biden administration’s policy on dealing with undocumented migrants and COVID-19 hours after announcing that international travel restrictions would be loosened for the fully vaccinated, saying illegal immigration is “not the same.”
President Joe Biden’s team had announced earlier on Monday that fully vaccinated travelers would soon be permitted to fly into the United States. Press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why similar protocols do not apply to the migrant surge at the southern border. Fox News’s Peter Doocy pressed Psaki on whether the migrants arriving at are being asked to provide proof of vaccination status or a negative test.
“That’s the policy for people who fly into the country,” Doocy said. “So why if somebody walks into the country right across the river, does somebody ask them to see their vaccination card?” Psaki replied: “Let me explain to you again, Peter, how our process works. As individuals come across the border, they are both assessed for whether they have any symptoms. If they have symptoms, the intention is for them to be quarantined. That is our process.”
When pressed further on whether this is inconsistent with requiring lawful international travelers to provide proof of vaccination, Psaki denied that the two situations are like for like. “They’re not intending to stay here for a lengthy period of time,” she said of the migrants. “It’s not the same thing.”
The response was widely ridiculed on Twitter, especially by conservatives. “Bullcrap,” tweeted Lauren Boebert (R-CO). The Biden administration announced through the Department of Homeland Security on Saturday that it would move to expel a number of the Haitian migrants.
“The Biden Administration has reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey. Individuals and families are subject to border restrictions, including expulsion,” DHS said in a statement. “Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of migrants themselves, and should not be attempted.”