WH press secretary Jen Psaki blamed the border migrant surge
at the Mexican border (with illegal immigration, smuggling, and human trafficking) on the "previous administration" during Monday's press briefing
Q Thanks. Just two quick ones, Jen. Given how fast moving the situation has been, does the President believe that his administration has a handle on what's happening on the southern border right now?
MS. PSAKI: We certainly do. And let me just give you a bit of an update on a couple of the steps that we're taking. You know, first, let me say that, like COVID -- obviously a different issue, but we recognize this is a big problem -- the last administration left us a dismantled and unworkable system. And like any other problem, we are going to do everything we can to solve it.
So our focus here is on solutions. Let me just walk you through a couple of the steps -- and we've done this a little bit, but there's always, of course, developments on considerations that are underway.
So, first, we've updated -- or we have not, but CDC has updated guidelines to return to full capacity. This will help expand capacity to move children more quickly out of CBP facilities. That's an important step. The implementation of that is of course ongoing.
We are -- there has -- there is now an embedding, at the President's ask, of HHS and ORR with CBP, which will allow government to more quickly I.D., vet, confirm sponsors and family members of the unaccompanied minors and will lead to quicker placement. Because, as you know -- as all of you know, big issues here are expediting what's happening at the border. None of these Border Patrol facilities are made for children, and we want to move them as quickly as possible into shelters and then into homes.
FEMA -- this was an announcement over the weekend -- is now supporting -- providing support at the border, adding extra capacity to HHS for quick processing to avoid overcrowding. This will hope -- we hope this will help quickly get children into HHS and ORR facilities, and placed with vetted sponsors and families. The President is very focused on expediting what's happening at the border at every step in the process.
And then this happened on Friday, but it didn't receive a lot of -- there was a lot going on, so I just wanted to highlight: We rescinded the 2018 MOU between DHS and HHS, which we believe will encourage families and sponsors to come forward without fear of additional immigration enforcement. And we've seen this as an issue, where family members or even sponsor families are worried that this will mean they will be tracked. And this over- -- rescinds that.
We're also looking for additional facilities, and this remains a focus.
So, we recognize this as a problem. We're focused on addressing it. That's just five steps we're taking, and we're continuing to evaluate what additional steps can be taken to address the situation at the border.