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Tipsheet

Karine Jean-Pierre Tries to Duck Out of Owning Up to Record-High Border Encounters

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

During a late night Friday news dump, Customs and Border Protection finally released the number of Border patrol encounters for the month of September, which showed a record high for September. Another alarming high, as Katie highlighted, was the amount of suspected terrorists that Border Patrol agents encountered. Fortunately, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre held a briefing on Monday, where she took questions about these numbers. Unfortunately, she was unable to give a sufficient answer, as is usually the case. 

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Overall, those numbers for the fiscal year 2022 painted a pretty grim picture, of 2.4 million encounters happening at the southern border, as a reporter pointed out. which he correctly pointed out "was the most ever on record." Adding that "Republicans have their arguments about that," he asked "what's the White House's explanation as to what happened and why."

As is a habit for Jean-Pierre, she reverted back to old talking points, which she herself acknowledged. In this case, her response amounted to how "what we're seeing, this new migration challenge is driven by people who are fleeing falling regimes and economic collapse," included Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, which she argued is "impacting the entire Western Hemisphere." In her response, the press secretary also tried to argue "we're seeing, again, a different challenge ahead of us we're dealing with." 

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Later in that response, she also claimed "we are hard at work in driving toward a regional solution to manage this new challenge," though that supposed effort from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) only just came earlier this month, when this border crisis has clearly been going on since President Joe Biden took office and the border was considered open.

With such a response, Jean-Pierre is effectively placing blame on Vice President Kamala Harris, who in March of last year was given the role of border czar by Biden and was tasked with finding out the root causes of migration from Central America, and what they could do to stem those numbers. The vice president has also failed in such a task in that she actually hasn't even found the time to go to the border, though many Republicans have, and she herself has had plenty of opportunities to do so. 

Jean-Pierre then went on to, as she is also prone to doing, blaming Republicans, specifically Republican governors, such as Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas, who have sent migrants to sanctuary cities. 

"But, you know, we've talked about this, while we're trying to deal with the challenges, as you all know, you have Republican governors who are using these migrants, using these folks who are trying to flee communism, falling regimes and economic collapse as I just mentioned, they're using as a political pawn." Jean-Pierre went on to remind that she and the president have called this out. 

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Polls show, though, that Florida and Texas voters approve of what DeSantis and Abbott are doing, which is especially telling given that both of them are up for reelection and likely to win those races. 

Jean-Pierre might tell reporters they "all know," but in reality, the press secretary hardly ever has a sufficient answer, and/or is always trying to shift the blame elsewhere. This includes blaming Republicans and the Trump administration during a press briefing last month, as Guy highlighted at the time.


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