The White House said Thursday the decision to reopen a facility in Texas to house unaccompanied immigrant minors trying to enter the country is the best available option at the moment — citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and the safety of the children.
Facing criticism from the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested the carping over reopening the facility is misguided.
“Our best option, in our view, is to get these kids processed through HHS facilities, where there are COVID protocols in place, where they are safe, where they have access to educational and medical care,” Ms. Psaki said. “There are very few good options here, and we chose the one we thought is best.”
Administration critics say reopening the border facilities smacks of hypocrisy given the criticism that candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris leveled at then-President Trump over his response to the challenge.
Ms. Psaki said the White House didn’t want to send these children home to their countries and also didn’t feel comfortable putting them with host families that have not been vetted.
She said in an ideal scenario the children are processed through Customs and Border Protection, transferred to HHS facilities that have been revamped to meet COVID-19 protocols and then placed with vetted families.
“What is happening now is there are children fleeing prosecution, fleeing threats in their own country, traveling on their own, unaccompanied to the border and our focus is on approaching this from the view of humanity and with safety in mind,” she said.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, this week ripped the administration’s decision on Twitter.
“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay — no matter the administration or party,” she said.
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