U.S. officials will ask authorities in Mexico and Guatemala to help stem migrant traffic, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday, as the Biden administration struggles to contain a burgeoning humanitarian challenge along the U.S. border with Mexico.
WHITE HOUSE SPOKESWOMAN JEN PSAKI: "This is not the time to come.
Our borders are not open." The White House continued trying to discourage migrants from illegally entering the United States, as President Joe Biden dispatched U.S. envoys - including White House border coordinator Roberta Jacobson - to Mexico and Guatemala on Monday for talks on how to manage the surge of migrants heading for the U.S. southern border.
REUTERS REPORTER STEVE HOLLAND: "Are they going to specifically ask those countries to help stem the tide of the migrants?" PSAKI: "Absolutely.
Part of our objective, as Roberta Jacobson conveyed - Ambassador Jacobson - when she was in here just a few weeks ago, was that we need to work in partnership with these countries to address the root causes in their countries to convey clearly and systematically that this is not the time to travel." White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was also asked about the release of recent photographs taken inside a U.S. border processing center in Texas showed dozens of migrants, including children, lying on the floor, packed closely together in a facility.
UNKNOWN REPORTER: "Now that the public has seen that, is that not a crisis and what conditions or situations... what metrics would have to be in place for the administration to call it that?" PSAKI: "Children presenting at our border, who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing prosecution, who are fleeing terrible situations, is not a crisis." U.S. officials are struggling to house and process unaccompanied children, many of whom have been stuck in jail-like border stations for days while they await placement in overwhelmed government-run shelters.
Psaki said the Biden administration has also placed more than 17 thousand radio ads in Spanish, Portuguese and other languages to discourage U.S.-bound migration from Central America and Brazil.