The Biden administration said Monday that a weekend visit to an illegal immigrant children detention facility was purposefully held without media in order to protect the privacy of children.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki's comments on Monday came after the press was kept out of Saturday's review.
The Biden administration also admitted the child detention centers were over-capacity amid an influx of illegal immigrant kids coming across the border without parents, according to Psaki during the White House daily press briefing. The news comes despite Biden's frequent campaign criticism of the Trump administration's detention of unaccompanied children.
"We do look forward to, [President Joe Biden] is committed to, we're all committed to allowing cameras into these facilities, but we want to figure out the best way to do that, putting the privacy of the kids [first], in a way that's secure and safe, and certainly that's something to look to do in the future," Psaki told reporters.
Psaki was asked about the lack of media, considering Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas' own vow of "transparency" before Saturday's media-shutout visits to a DHS Border Patrol facility and a Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement center.
"We know merely by the numbers that there is going to be a need, because we have a large number of kids, unaccompanied children who are coming across the border, we've made a policy decision as an administration that the humane and moral approach is to keep these kids safe and get them into facilities that are safe," Psaki said.
Psaki did blame capacity problems on some COVID-19 restrictions, hoping relaxed guidelines will help increase capacity limits to handle the influx.
"It is an area of policy discussion how we will be able to accommodate in a safe and humane way these kids, and our objective remains moving them as quickly as possible out of the border patrol facilities," Psaki said.
Saturday's visit was led by DHS Secretary Mayorkas and White House Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice in a 14-person delegation that included deputy National Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall and the first lady's chief of staff Julissa Rynoso.
The visit comes as Biden has faced criticism from some Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, for a spike in illegal immigrant crossings – particularly by unaccompanied minors – that some say threaten to overwhelm government shelters.
"Joe Biden's decision to cancel border security has single-handedly launched a youth migrant crisis that is enriching child smugglers, vicious criminal cartels, and some of the most evil people on the planet," Trump said in his Feb. 28 CPAC speech.
The White House dismissed Trump's comments Friday before sending the delegation.
"We don't take our advice or counsel from former President Trump on immigration policy, which was not only inhumane but ineffective over the last 4 years," Psaki said.
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