Vice President Kamala Harris laughed while responding to a question from a reporter who asked Monday if she would be visiting the border amid the growing migrant crisis. While taking questions from reporters outside of Air Force One, Harris was asked if she had “plans to visit” the southern border as the immigration crisis continues to develop.
The vice president responded to the query with a “not today” before laughing. She continued on to say that she had visited “before” and that she probably would go back.
The White House did not immediately respond to the question as to whether they thought Harris’ response was appropriate, given the situation at the border that the Biden administration refuses to call a “crisis.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki maintained the Biden administration’s stance during a Monday press conference, referring to the border situation as a “circumstance” and saying that children escaping from persecution in their home countries “is not a crisis.”
“Children presenting at our border who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing prosecution, who are fleeing terrible situations is not a crisis,” Psaki said. “We feel it is our responsibility to humanely approach this circumstance and make sure they are treated, and put into conditions that are safe.”
Republican lawmakers have spoken out against the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis.
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, sent a letter on Monday to President Joe Biden after his administration refused press access for his and fourteen other senators’ trip to the border this week.
Cruz tore into Biden in the letter, saying that, despite assertions by the administration that the situation is not a crisis, “the American people are beginning to understand the gravity of the situation.”
“But it is not enough for members of the Senate to see what is happening — the American people must see,” wrote the Texas senator. “That is why I requested that members of the media be allowed to join us. But your administration clearly and emphatically refused to offer press access.”
“This is outrageous and hypocritical,” added Cruz, who pointed to both Psaki’s and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ reneging on their vows of “transparency” from the start of the administration.
Cruz lambasted the president for preventing the press from attending the trip with the group of senators and charged Biden with “hiding the truth from the American people.”
“Denying the press, the ability to observe, film, and report on the conditions at the border is not openness or transparency — it is hiding the truth from the American people,” wrote Cruz. “The press and the American people deserve more than denials and excuses from a podium.”
“They deserve to see and understand the crisis for themselves with the help of reporters who are free and independent from your administration,” added the Texas senator, who called for Biden to go back on his decision to block press access.
The Biden administration came under fire on Monday after Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, published photos of a packed migrant facility in Donna, Texas.
The photos illustrated how the Biden administration is treating migrants in holding facilities amid the border crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. They showed many migrants locked inside of clear pens that looked akin to the cages the previous administration was criticized for using.