WATCH: Psaki Says Migrants At Southern Border Will Be “Turned Away”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answers question about immigration and migration concerns.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. on February 10, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images

At a White House Press Briefing on Wednesday, Secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question about migrants coming to the U.S. southern border.

A reporter asked what could be done in the short term so that “we don’t have a repeat of things in the past, which obviously President Biden is very familiar with.”

Psaki responded by acknowledging that while Biden is following the matter, the President will defer to his Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, on these issues, touting Mayorkas’ “great deal of experience.”

She described the coronavirus as one reason for the administration’s inability to process migrants seeking to come to the United States. In addition, she said that they “have not had the time, as an administration, to put in place humane, comprehensive process for processing individuals who are coming to the border.”

She also remarked that while there have been rare instances of people coming into the country and awaiting a court date, this will not be true for the majority of people who arrive at the border.

“Now is not the time to come and the vast majority of people will be turned away,” she said, adding that “asylum processes at the border will not occur immediately,” either.

This response comes two days after Psaki was pressed on the Biden Administration’s shift in immigration policy toward stricter deportation requirements. As reported by The Washington Post on Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing for a change in their usual practice.

“Agents will no longer seek to deport immigrants for crimes such as driving under the influence and assault, and will focus instead on national security threats, recent border crossers and people completing prison and jail terms for aggravated felony convictions.”

According to Fox News, Psaki answered questions from reporters on this policy, saying,

“The priority for the enforcement of immigration laws will be on those who are posing a national security threat … and on recent arrivals … Nobody is saying that DUIs or assault are acceptable behavior, and those arrested for such activities should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement. But we’re talking about the prioritization of who is going to be deported from the country.”

While Biden issued executive orders to undo some of Trump’s actions, there are still lingering practices from the previous administration in place. On February 1st, CBS News reported that Biden would keep some of these border policies for the time being, despite being critical of them during the 2020 presidential campaign.

“The Biden administration’s continuation of Trump-era border policies, even if short-lived, has left thousands of asylum-seekers stranded in dangerous Mexican towns or facing swift expulsion to the countries they fled. Many are hopeful that their fortunes will change under a new U.S. administration — but it’s unclear when and if that may happen.”

Last month, Biden attempted to place a moratorium on deportations for 100 days but was sued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. As reported by Fox News, a Texas federal judge extended a suspension of Biden’s attempted action for an additional two weeks on Wednesday.

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