White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged Thursday that migrant families were “self-separating” to get their children into the United States.
“That certainly is an unintended consequence,” Psaki said. “And we have been clear and we have continued to convey the message that our border is not open, that it is a treacherous journey.”
But President Joe Biden repeatedly makes it clear that unaccompanied minor migrants apprehended on the Southern border will be allowed into the United States.
“The only people we’re not going to let sitting there on the other side of the Rio Grande by themselves with no help are children,” Biden said during a press conference in March.
More than 18,500 unaccompanied children crossed the border in March, according to preliminary data, 60 percent higher than the previous record of 11,494 in May 2019.
Border Patrol leader Brian Hastings confirmed in an interview Monday that families were separating themselves at the border.
“What we are seeing, more and more, is the families are self-separating in Mexico,” he said.
The rush of children to the border has led to stories of border patrol agents finding abandoned children wandering in the wilderness. Smugglers were also filmed by agents dropping children off of a border wall.
But Psaki said the Biden administration’s approach would not change, despite the consequences.
“I don’t think we have any intention to rethink our approach to treating kids humanely and ensuring that they are safe when they cross the border,” she said.