Despite Federal Disaster Agency Being Deployed to the Border, White House Doesn't Want to 'Use Labels'

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Posted: Mar 15, 2021 2:20 PM
Despite Federal Disaster Agency Being Deployed to the Border, White House Doesn't Want to 'Use Labels'

Source: (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Over the weekend Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been deployed to manage the massive influx of illegal immigrants and unaccompanied minors along the southern border with Mexico. 

“I am grateful for the exceptional talent and responsiveness of the FEMA team,” Mayorkas released in a statement Saturday night. “I am incredibly proud of the agents of the Border Patrol, who have been working around the clock in difficult circumstances to take care of children temporarily in our care. Yet, as I have said many times, a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child. We are working in partnership with HHS to address the needs of unaccompanied children, which is made only more difficult given the protocols and restrictions required to protect the public health and the health of the children themselves. Our goal is to ensure that unaccompanied children are transferred to HHS as quickly as possible, consistent with legal requirements and in the best interest of the children.”

“It is never safe to come to the United States through irregular channels, and this is particularly true during a pandemic,” he continued.  “To effectively protect both the health and safety of migrants and our communities from the spread of COVID-19, individuals apprehended at the border continue to be denied entry and are returned.”

During the White House briefing Monday afternoon, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the situation is now considered a "disaster" given FEMA's participation and mission.  

FEMA's mission is to "help people before, during and after disasters. Our core values and guiding principles help us achieve it."

At this time, President Biden has no plans to visit the border and assess the situation first hand.