Out White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a Fox News reporter to stop his “dramatics” and let her answer his question as he repeatedly talked over her.
At Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Fox’s Peter Doocy asked about comments she made on Monday regarding a decrease in undocumented immigration attempts from four countries involved in the parole program with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“You said yesterday that, when it comes to illegal migration, you’ve seen it come down by more than 90 percent. Where did that number come from? Because-” he said as Jean-Pierre calmly flipped through her binder.
She tried to say that she was talking about the specific countries involved in the Biden administration’s parole program – “It was, I was speaking-” – but Doocy kept cutting her off to read other statistics about undocumented immigration from other countries.
“I’m about — I’m about to answer you-” she said, trying again, and he cut her off once again.
“If you, if you, if the dramatics could come down just a little bit-” she said, and he cut her off again.
“If the dramatics could come down a little bit,” she said sternly.
“What’s dramatic about asking a question about-” Doocy replied.
“Okay. I’m going — I’m going to answer,” she said, getting control of the conversation again. “So I was speaking to the parolee program. As you know, the president put in place a parolee program to deal with — to deal with certain countries on — on ways that we can limit illegal migration. And we have seen — the data has shown us that it has gone down by more than 90 percent. That was what I was speaking to.”
Jean-Pierre was referring to numbers provided by CBP that show that encounters with undocumented immigrants at the Southwest Border dropped precipitously from December 2022 to February 2023 involving people from the four countries – Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela – involved in the parole program.
The Biden administration announced that 30,000 individuals each month could come to the U.S. with the program in January 2023 as part of an agreement with Mexico to deal with the enormous migration from Central and South America, with Mexico also agreeing to take in more immigrants. The parole program allows entry to the U.S. for noncitizens if they are sponsored. The immigrants can come to the U.S. and work for up to two years if they have a sponsor. In order to stay in the U.S., parolees would have to pursue immigration through other pathways, according to the Christian Science Monitor, since the parole program does not provide a path to long-term immigration on its own.
While the program has been effective for reducing undocumented immigration from the countries involved – Forbes called it “the most effective approach to reducing illegal entry into the United States since the Bracero Program” – conservatives oppose the program because they claim that it’s unlawful. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has filed a lawsuit to end the program.
Some Republicans claim that even legal immigrants from Latin America will commit crimes and traffic drugs to the U.S.
“We need to have orderly, humane, and legal immigration and stop the drugs coming across the border,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said earlier this year about the program that sets up an orderly and legal way for people to enter the U.S.