Representative Linda Sanchez (D) from California stated that it’s not “appropriate” for journalists to see inside the federal facilities that are overwhelmed by the increase of migrant children trying to gain entry into the United States.
Rep. Sanchez pushed back on the rising concerns from journalists who were denied access inside the border patrol facilities holding thousands of children. Journalists and refugee advocates have been pressuring the Biden administration to provide access to facilities where immigrant children are being kept. Additionally, reporters have complained of border agencies no longer offering ride-alongs which were common during most of the Trump, Obama, and Bush administrations. During her interview with CNN, Rep. Sanchez expressed “I don’t necessarily think that it’s appropriate for journalists to be inside centers that are not permanent places for children. Children are not placed there permanently.”
However, CNN’s Poppy Harlow called out Rep. Sanchez’s stance and asked if she was concerned about the Biden administration’s lack of transparency. “Under the Trump administration, members of Congress were not allowed inside these facilities,” Rep. Sanchez replied. Harlow pushed back saying “That just doesn’t mean anything now, respectfully, congresswoman.” Harlow added “Clearly you were upset about that lack of transparency. Are you concerned about this lack of transparency?” Rep. Sanchez responded “sure.” Rep. Sanchez carried on by bringing up the coronavirus pandemic to defend her position on entering the Customs and Border Protection facilities that serve as intake centers for the children before they can be transferred into children-specific shelters provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.
On March 19th, Sanchez further explained her position, suggesting that the media should not have access to the facilities until the administration can address concerns over the pandemic and the privacy of the children. “The Biden Administration has been clear. Border facilities are not adequate for the care of children, and they are doing everything they can to transfer children to HHS for safe processing. And right now, the Administration has not been hosting media tours of unaccompanied children facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rep. Sanchez said in a statement.
She continued, saying, “I am committed to transparency and finding ways for [the] press to fully report the process at the border. But the safety and privacy of the children must be protected, especially during a pandemic. I look forward to seeing how the Administration makes that possible.” Immigration has been on the rise as one of the biggest challenges facing the Biden administration. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security stated that the U.S. is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the Southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”
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ARTICLE: GABRIELLA ANTOS
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS