Questions like that are almost enough to make you feel sorry for White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Even someone qualified for that job – which she clearly is not – would have trouble coming up with new ways to tell bald-faced lies about the border crisis and what President Joe Biden is doing to stop it.
Her job got more difficult after U.S. Customs and Border Protection released data Friday showing that 304,162 people entered the country illegally in August – a new record.
For perspective, it’s as many as crossed illegally in all of 2017, and more than the entire population of Pittsburgh.
Just a couple months ago, team Biden was crowing about a dip in the number of illegal border crossers, even issuing a press release claiming that “the administration’s plan is working as intended.”
Two weeks ago, Jean-Pierre declared that “The president has done more to secure the border and to deal with this issue of immigration than anybody else. He really has.”
Normally, the press would swallow such lies without blinking. But now Democratic politicians are rising up in protest around the country against the devastation Biden’s “secure the border” policies have brought to their cities and states.
The Daily Signal recently reported that “Democratic leaders in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Washington, D.C., have declared states of emergency in response to the border crisis that occurred after President Joe Biden took office.”
The crisis has gotten so bad that the slavishly pro-Biden New York Times has started reporting on its scale and impact. In just the past few days, it’s run stories headlined:
- “Officials Scramble to Respond as Migrants Overwhelm Texas City”
- “Influx of Migrants Exposes Democrats’ Division on Immigration”
- “One Day on the Border: 8,900 Migrants Arrested, and More on the Way”
- “Unlawful Border Crossings Are Rising Fast”
- “Eric Adams Asserts Migrant Crisis Will ‘Destroy New York'”
The Times even quoted New York Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan saying: “The No. 1 thing I learned as an Army officer: When in charge, take charge. We are in a crisis, the president is in charge, and he and his team need to take charge.”
As a result, Jean-Pierre has started getting tougher questions about the border crisis. And her handling of it has been, to put it charitably, less than exemplary.
Consider these exchanges with reporters on Thursday.
Q: How many people coming into this country illegally is enough for President Biden?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Say that last part.
Q: How many people come — how many people illegally coming into the United States is enough for President Biden’s administra- —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t what that — what do you —
Q: Well, five point —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Enough for what?
Q: Five point nine million people have — have been encountered —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know —
Q: — illegally at —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I know the numbers, but enough for what?
Q: Enough — just to stop the flood.
Jean-Pierre proceeds to rattle off a series of talking points:
“The President has done everything and is going to continue what — to do what he can, without the help of some Republicans on — in — in Congress to deal with this issue.”
“This is a problem that’s been around for some time now — for decades — a broken system.”
She then tries to blame Republicans for the crisis, saying “The Republicans put up a continuing resolution that actually reverses the work that the President is trying to do — makes it — the situation worse. That’s what they were trying to push.”
Watch that exchange below.
At that same briefing, she got a question from Fox News’ Peter Doocy that she simply shut down.
Q: So, what do you call it here at the White House when 10,000 people illegally cross the border in a single day?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, what do you call it, Peter, when GOP puts forth a — wait, no —
Q: Asking are you —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, no, no, you can’t —
Q: Karine —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I’m answering.
Okay, we’re going to move on.
Q: You’re answering a question —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no —
Q: — with a question.
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no — no, no, no. We’re moving on.
Q: Karine, please —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We’re moving. In the back. Go ahead.
Watch that exchange below.
On Friday, Doocy repeated his question, and here, after a day spent thinking about it, is what Jean-Pierre came up with.
“So, here’s what I will say. And you’ve heard us say — you heard me say this a couple of times — and I’ll say it again because it is the facts: On day one, the first day of this president’s administration, he put forth a comprehensive immigration reform that we believe — we believe that was desperately needed for this country. Right?”
Then she rattled off her talking points again:
“We are dealing with a broken system. And no action was taken from Congress.”
“We’ve taken action.”
We hired “about 25,000 more … CBP agents.”
And, then she went on to once again blame Republicans. “You had Speaker McCarthy and the Republicans in Congress who continuously — continuously take step(s) to undermine what is currently happening, trying to undermine getting border security.”
Trying to blame this crisis on Republicans is a truly awe-inspiring lie.
First, Biden had two years with Democrats controlling both the House and Senate. During that time, they passed – with zero Republican votes – trillions of dollars in new spending. If Biden had wanted to tackle border security with that money, there’d be zero illegal border crossers today.
Second, it’s clear Biden can do a tremendous amount to get the border under control without Congress. President Donald Trump did, after all.
Trump faced a situation similar to Biden’s after the 2018 midterm elections when Republicans lost control of the House and he lost any chance of getting an immigration bill passed.
The month after the new Congress was sworn in, illegal border crossings started to spike – hitting 144,116 in May 2019.
But instead of making excuses and blaming Democrats, Trump sprang into action.
After Congress refused to provide funds for a border wall, he declared a state of emergency and directed $8.1 billion to its construction.
He put in place “Remain in Mexico,” which sent illegals back to Mexico while their asylum claims were adjudicated. As the El Paso Times put it, “the policy has proved to be a virtual wall.”
He denied bail to asylum seekers in an effort to end the “catch and release” policy. He tightened up what counts as a “credible fear” claim for asylum seekers. At one detention facility, the number passing the “credible fear claim” plunged from 97% to just 10%.
Trump threatened to impose stiff tariffs on Mexico unless it got serious about border control, after which Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suddenly sent troops to detain migrants.
He announced that anyone crossing the U.S.-Mexico border who hadn’t applied for asylum in Mexico first would be automatically ineligible for asylum here.
The result: illegal crossings fell from that May peak down to 45,000 by October.
Biden jettisoned all these policies as soon as he could. Here are the results:
If Biden wanted to get control of the border, he could do so today. He just needs to reinstate Trump’s policies.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board