Jim Bridenstine: Border Tours Like Soviet-Era Media Management

Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 12:35 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Rep. Jim Bridenstine on Tuesday said the Obama administration's management of visits to the U.S. border to observe the immigration crisis is comparable to tactics of the former Soviet Union.

In an interview with CNN's "New Day." the Oklahoma Republican said he was denied access last week to a detention facility in his home state where more than 1,000 children are being housed, and he and members of the media were given strict conditions on the way the visit would be managed. Video of the interview was posted on the Mediaite website.

"The center told news outlets by email that 'the media can come. It'll be a 40-minute tour, but you can't ask questions. You can't talk to the staff. You can't talk to the medical doctors. You can't talk to the children," Bridenstine said.

He said that he and the news outlets were instructed that they were not permitted to take pictures but that photos would be sent to them for use and he was told he could attend the facility on Saturday.

"This is the kind of media that they had in the former Soviet Union," he added. "This is not the kind of unfettered access that we expect in the United States, when the president is going to ask for $2 billion."

On Tuesday, Obama asked Congress to approve a $3.7 billion package to contain the surge of illegal Central American migrants from entering the United States illegally across the southern border, roughly $1.8 billion of which would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to provide care for unaccompanied children and refugees already in the country.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied children arrived have already arrived.

Bridenstine blamed Obama for the influx, saying, "The president has created this perception down in Central America that if you come, you can stay."

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