Politics

Jen Psaki turns Fox reporter’s immigration statistic back on him

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing on Friday August 6, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing on Friday August 6, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.Photo: Official White House Photo by Erin Scott

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shut down a Fox reporter who asked a pointed question that implied that President Joe Biden is allowing terrorists to come into the country through the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We have new reporting that at least 23 people apprehended at the southern border in 2021 are on the terror watchlist,” Fox’s Peter Doocy said at yesterday’s White House press briefing. “Why do you guys think it is that somebody on a terror watchlist would want to get into the United States undetected?”

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Psaki pointed out that Doocy’s statistic doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

“Well, I can’t make an assessment of that,” she said, “but what I can tell you is that your data you’re citing here, it means the Border Patrol was doing their job. I mean, they they apprehended people at the border.”

Psaki and Doocy went back and forth on numbers, and Doocy finally asked: “So the president is not worried about holes in the southern border being exploited by people trying to come in and kill Americans?”

“He’s grateful to the Border Patrol for doing their job and — and stopping these people and preventing them from getting into the country,” Psaki replied.

At one point during the exchange, Doocy asks about the “62,000 illegal immigrants a day [who] got away last month.” He was apparently referring to a Fox News report based on unnamed sources who said that there were 62,000 “known gotaways” in March, total, meaning that there were around 2000 per day, not 62,000, if the unnamed sources are correct.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) hasn’t released official numbers of known gotaways, instead stating that 159,900 individuals who crossed the border without going through the proper channels were arrested throughout the U.S. in March 2022.

All of which puts the number that Doocy cited – 23 people who were on the terrorist watchlist – into perspective.

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