The Biden border crisis has reared its ugly head in the last week and brought more misery and ruin to border towns, including Eagle Pass, Texas. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre offered clownish spin Thursday afternoon that President Biden “has taken...historic action” to “fix this issue” and, not surprisingly, she received not only some hardballs from select reporters, but a searing fact-check afterward on the Fox News Channel by correspondent Bill Melugin.
Melugin’s colleague Peter Doocy tried to wade in on the questioning, but he was suddenly shut down when he tried to push back on Jean-Pierre.
After The Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas asked whether expanding temporary protected status to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan illegal immigrants would “make the situation” in Eagle Pass “worse” (and Jean-Pierre claimed Republicans wants drugs flowing into the country), Doocy had a simple question: “So, what do you call it here at the WH when 10,000 people illegally cross the border in a single day?”
Doocy interjected as Jean-Pierre mumbled along, so the latter suddenly changed her mind about wanting to let Doocy speak and muzzled him (click “expand”):
JEAN-PIERRE: So, what do you call it, Peter, when GOP puts forth a — a — wait, no —
DOOCY: Ask [inaudible] —
JEAN-PIERRE: — no, no, no, no, no, no, you can't —
DOOCY: — Karine —
JEAN-PIERRE: — I'm answering. Okay, we're going to move on.
DOOCY: — you're answering the question, but — okay.
JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, we are moving on.
DOOCY: Karine, please!
JEAN-PIERRE [TO TODD GILLMAN]: In the back. Go ahead. Go ahead.
DOOCY: You said you were stopping the flow at the border.
JEAN-PIERRE [TO GILLMAN]: Go ahead, in the back. [TO DOOCY] No, nope.
DOOCY: 10,000 migrants —
JEAN-PIERRE: I tried to answer, Peter —
DOOCY: — okay?
JEAN-PIERRE: — I tried to answer the question, you stopped me. [TO GILLMAN] Let's go.
After two decent question from Dallas Morning News’s Todd Gillman, Doocy’s Fox colleague Edward Lawrence seemed to pick up on what Doocy had tried to ask, which was “how many people coming into this country illegally is enough for President Biden” to truly stop the flow.
Jean-Pierre played dumb before shrugging because the border is “a problem that's been around for sometime now...and is going to continue” unless Republicans acquiesce to President Biden.
On FNC’s America Reports, Melugin acknowledged he listened to the briefing and called out her disrespectful behavior toward Doocy, especially because he had “an important question.”
“[J]ust three weeks ago in late August, Karine Jean-Pierre was up there at that White House podium saying that they were ‘stopping the flow’ here at our southern border. I mean, I’ll let our viewers decide, but does this look like stopping the flow,” Melugin explained.
Melugin added “Eagle Pass has been completely overrun” with individual groups of illegals numbering in the thousands and the Democratic mayor demanding, in Melugin’s words, the administration telling illegal immigrants “there will be consequences for crossing the border illegally.”
He then shared that, while Homeland Security officials admitted Wednesday night to “a surge in the border numbers right now, but attributed that surge to economic fallout from COVID, to climate change, and to authoritarian regimes.”
Melugin offered another fact-check, which led co-host John Roberts to set Melugin up with another takedown of Jean-Pierre by noting her claim that Biden’s border policies are defined by “historic action” (click “expand”):
MELUGIN: Guys, in the more than two years I’ve been doing this, the amount of migrants that have told me climate change is a reason they are coming here would be zero. Zero. Everybody tells us they are here for trabajar, which means to work, to link up with family in the United States or yes, there are some fleeing horrible regimes all over the world who do intend to seek asylum. Nobody’s talked to us about climate change. They want to work.
JOHN ROBERTS: Yeah.
MELUGIN: They want to meet family here or they’re fleeing from a bad government.
ROBERTS: Bill —
MELUGIN: And you guys see the result right here. This has been going on all morning long, you guys have been watching the drone shots.
ROBERTS: Yeah, it would seem to be just as hot on the Texas border as in Venezuela, Bill. So, if they’re trying to get away from climate change, they are going to the wrong place, at least initially. You mentioned the White House briefing. Karine Jean-Pierre insisted the President has taken historic action since he took office January 20, 2021, to address the border crisis. You’ve been covering the border crisis pretty much since the day that he took — that he took office. How have things changed there on the border in the midst of this “historic action?”
MELUGIN: So, the biggest thing the White House did, which they thought was going to solve this crisis was this CBP1 app and mass paroles into the country...Well, the problem is, the migrants aren’t happy with the CPB1 app. They say it takes forever to make an appointment. The app keeps crashes on them. They don’t like it. They don’t want to use it. So, instead, why wait for that when you can cross the river, get processed, and then get released into the community? And it simply has not worked. These lawful pathways the White House was talking about after the end of Title 42, remember, they’re mass paroling Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and some Haitians into the country. They thought that was going to push the numbers down a little while and it did a little bit, but now most of what we’re seeing come across again are Venezuelans.
“The bottom line is the migrants really just don’t have a fear of consequence for crossing the border illegally. They believe if they get here, they are going to get released into the country...They really don’t fear removal and they smile and they wave and they say the border’s open,” he explained.
It was here that Melugin lowered the boom on Jean-Pierre by unfurling his notebook of claims she made that day and in past briefings before stating the obvious that this is “just a mess” with “little border communities...hav[ing] to deal with the brunt of it” (click “expand”):
I’ve made notes on what Jean-Pierre has said at that — at the podium before. She has falsely stated that they “reduced illegal immigration by 90 percent.” She said that “nobody is walking across the river.” That is also false. She said they are “stopping the flow.” That is also false. And then, as you mentioned, she said President Biden has done more than anybody to secure the border. I’ll — you know, our viewers can decide the answer to that question, but the numbers have never been higher. Border Patrol agent morale has never been lower, and agents tell us with this new TPS announcement for Venezuelans, you can expect the numbers to go even higher because they expect Venezuelans out there are going to want to surge to the border now thinking, well, if I can get into the United States they’re going to redesignate and extend TPS again next year and it’ll — you know, it’ll backfill for the people who are in the country now.
So, it’s just a mess, guys, and little border communities like this, Eagle Pass, have to deal with the brunt of it. Two years ago, it was Del Rio. But the bottom line, why it’s more national attention is because these migrants don’t stay here. They are going to sanctuary cities. They’re going all across the country and these sanctuary cities and states have previously said — there’s receipts, you know, they’re — they put out tweets years ago saying we welcome everybody, we’re happy to be a sanctuary city. Kathy Hochul was one of them. Now? She’s saying on CNN last night, don’t come here. We are full. So, you know, it’s just a different — a different idea.
A few moments later, Melugin finished off by telling viewers what Jean-Pierre could have said that would have been a relief to Border Patrol on the ground (click “expand”):
[W]hat Border Patrol agents tell us, is Title 8 is already U.S. law. That is what existed before Title 42. That allows them to deport people and remove people from the country and all these agents are saying let us enforce the law that is on the books already. That’s all we need. We don’t need some new crazy law, it’s already on the books, let us do what we know works. Let us impose consequences. But the Biden administration is so hesitant...they’ve really moved towards a policy of mass catch and release...[T]he Border Patrol union tweeted out earlier today in the last three wks alone, more than 100,000 migrants have been released into the United States. That’s a massive number, guys...[I]t’s a magnet. People believe if they cross this border, they’re going to be one of those people released into the country.
Back at the briefing, NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez used his first Q&A since being promoted to the White House to note the regime “took credit following the end of Title 42 for the drop in border crossing numbers,” so are they “now taking responsibility for the rise in numbers.”
Of course, Jean-Pierre didn’t and chalked the rise up to “ebbs and flows of migrants...fueled by seasonal trends.”
The final chapter of nothingness on the border came after CBS’s Ed O’Keefe had this astute, outside-the-box question:
Who's talking to Venezuela about why these people are still coming? Who's talking to Panama about the Darién Gap and who's allowing them to come in? And whatever happened to those State Department and Spain and Canada centers that were going to be set up along route to make sure the people would have options.