Amid the left’s collective meltdown over Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sending illegal immigrants to far-left, rich, white Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled with questions from both her allies in the press corps and actual reporters about the move, including a Kamala Harris-like answer and a general attitude painting Martha’s Vineyard as some sort of Third World outpost.
While her on-air coverage was predictably to the left, ABC’s Mary Bruce grilled Jean-Pierre with the reality of the border crisis that precipitated the busses and planes:
[C]rossings are up. Drownings along the border are increasing. We’ve been to one town recently where the morgue is overwhelmed by — by migrant deaths. Are you confident and do you feel that the situation at the border is under control? Are you doing enough?
Jean-Pierre comically claimed “what we have been doing is — is doing the work that wasn’t done by the last administration” and have been “fixing a broken system” even though “[i]t is not like turning the light switch on.”
Adding that the Biden White House has “a process in place” to properly “manage migration flows,” Jean-Pierre added that Republicans “are using desperate people — people who are trying to come here because they are fleeing communism themselves as a political pawn and it’s horrible and it’s shameful.”
Bruce followed up: “The bussing aside, how do you explain this influx?”
Jean-Pierre then fired off that Harris-like humdinger: “Well, again, we understand that we have work to do. We understand that and we have been doing the work to do that. We have taken unprecedented action over the past year and a half to secure our border[.]”
NBC’s Kristen Welker pushed harder a little later, calling out Harris’s absurd claim that “the border is secure”: “[D]oes the White House stand by those comments that the border is secure?”
Jean-Pierre retreated to her talking points about “follow[ing] the process” and how “[m]ore individuals encountered at the border will be removed or expelled this year than” ever (which naturally happens when you have record crossings and gotaways).
But Welker interjected (click “expand”):
WELKER: Is the border secure, Karine?
JEAN-PIERRE: — that we have been doing.
WELKER: Is the border secure?
JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just going to refer back to the Vice President. We agree with her. She is saying that there’s a lot of work to do, right? She also said that in that very statement. We agree that the border is secure, but there is still more work to be done.
WELKER: But I guess, you know, the question becomes how you can make that argument when DHS has said it’s bracing for these potentially 2 million migrants to come, which would be a record, in the coming months.
JEAN-PIERRE: So, you know, we’ll say this: Rebuilding the immigration system, especially one that was decimated under the previous administration, won’t happen overnight. We’re not going to flip a switch and get that done…We need to do it in a humane way. We need to do it in a safe way and as we have repeatedly said, a long-term solution can only come from a comprehensive legislation that brings lasting reform to a fundamentally broken system. We understand that and that’s why we continue to call on Congress to also act…[W]hat we’re seeing Republicans doing, elected officials using — using migrants as a pawn is not the way to move forward on this…According to NPR, the migrants said a woman they identify as “Perla” approached them and lured them into boarding the plane, saying they would be flown to Boston where they could get expedited work papers….That’s not how you treat people. That is inhumane. That’s not how we should be doing things.
After Jean-Pierre had worked her way around the room a few times, it was finally Jacqui Time. Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich started a short, probing question in the mold of her colleague, Peter Doocy: “Do you think that Americans believe that the border is secure?”
Jean-Pierre kept to her binder (which earlier had her referring to Ted Cruz as the governor of Texas) about there being a “process” the Biden regime has followed “to secure the border” and “fix[ing] a broken system” is not like “flipping a light switch”
Heinrich then fired off this fastball about whether there’s “risk…that voters might feel like they’re being lied to” about the porous border and whether border conditions are “humane” (click “expand”):
HEINRICH: Isn’t there some risk, though, that voters might feel like they’re being lied to? When you — we’re seeing images of — you know, in El Paso, they’ve released a thousand migrants on the street because the processing centers are overwhelmed there. You know, how is that humane? How is that safe, as you guys talk about so often, when it’s overwhelming border cities? And they’re asking the — the Biden administration to reimburse them for charter buses to get them out of the area, because they’re — they’re totally overwhelmed.
JEAN-PIERRE: So, again, it is a broke- — a broken system, the immigration system and it was — it was decimated by the last administration. That is a fact; it was decimated by the last administration. What the last administration wanted was a border wall that was ineffective and used — a use of taxpayers’ dollars and — and that’s what we saw from the last administration.
JEAN-PIERRE: But just recently, CBP reported that that new wall along the southwest border was breached over 3,000 times — that new wall and between fiscal year of 2019 and 2021, it’s required $22.6 million in repairs. That’s what we’re trying to deal with with a decimated system that was certainly not helped by the last administration. Look, we understand. I’m not saying that there’s not more work to do. We are saying there’s more work to do. We are saying that the system is broken, but we are saying that as well, we have — we have done — we have done a lot of work here to fix this system and again, more individuals encountered at the border will be removed or expelled this year than in any previous year. That is — those are the facts.
Heinrich had another play by calling out the fact that illegal immigrants are telling reporters that the border is open and they know they’ll be taken care of despite the White House’s claims that it’s secure:
Do you have a message for the migrants though who are saying that the border is open? I mean, today we talked to a few who arrived in D.C. They said that the border is open…We haven’t heard a message from the administration in a few months telling people not to come. We’ve heard you guys talking about trying to make it a more orderly process, but you’re not telling people not to come.
To see the relevant transcript from September 16’s briefing (including a Heinrich question about a disconnect between the administration and Americans struggling to pay bills, let alone an electric car), click here.