Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled to the US-Mexico border on Friday with a group of bipartisan senators. Typically on such a trip, a cabinet secretary and lawmakers would be accompanied by reporters or a member of the White House press pool to feed notes back to newsrooms.
But on this trip, the Biden administration blocked that from happening.
The lack of access was repeatedly pointed out by journalists this week. A number of live-shots from the border have ended with a reporter pointing out that officials denied access to the facilities holding migrant children.
“At a time when the southern border of the United States is undergoing a historic surge of migrants, it is more important than ever that journalists be allowed the necessary access to report accurately and independently on the Border Patrol’s response to the increased arrival of migrants and the well being of those housed in Border Patrol facilities,” he said.
The Trump administration did permit access to the facilities and provided the press with photos. But it was for a very different reason, as NBC’s Jacob Soboroff pointed out.
“I have photographed CBP under Bush, Obama and Trump but now — zero access is granted to media,” Moore said.
“Next week, I’m bringing 15 senators to the border. DHS said NO to our request to bring media,” Cruz said. “I will continue to fight for press access so every American can see this crisis for themselves!”
Biden administration response
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday responded to a CNN Business’ inquiry about the lack of access at the border by referring to comments she made earlier in the week.
Psaki said Thursday that media tours of the facilities holding children had not been permitted due to Covid-19 restrictions. But, she said, the administration remains “committed to transparency, and we’re considering potential options, and we hope to have an update on that soon.”