“I will commit to transparency and as soon as I’m in a position to be able to implement what we’re doing right now,” Biden said Thursday, when pressed if journalists would be provided access to facilities where children have staying in crowded conditions.
“This is being set up and you’ll have full access to everything once we get this thing moving,” he added.
CNN, among other media outlets, has repeatedly asked for access to Customs and Border Protection facilities and Health and Human Services facilities.
Under mounting pressure to provide access to facilities, a group of White House officials and members of Congress toured a facility holding unaccompanied migrant children in Texas on Wednesday in the company of a news camera. After a congressman released photos of one Border Patrol overflow site in Donna, Texas, earlier this week, the administration released footage and still photos of the space.
But the administration still hasn’t provided full access to other sites set up to care for unaccompanied migrant children or Border Patrol facilities, where children have been staying for prolonged periods of times in overcrowded and jail-like conditions.
Biden added he hasn’t gone down himself because he doesn’t want to “become the issue.”
Texas facility ‘totally unacceptable’
Biden said Thursday that overcrowding at the Donna facility is “totally unacceptable.”
ABC News’ Cecilia Vega asked the President: “What is your reaction to these images that have come out from that particular facility? Is what’s happening inside acceptable to you, and when is this going to be fixed?”
“That’s a serious question, right? Is it acceptable to me? Come on,” Biden responded.
The President continued: “That’s why we’re going to be moving a thousand of those kids out quickly. That’s why I got Fort Bliss opened up. That’s why I’ve been working from the moment this started happening to try to find additional access for children to be able to safely — not just children, but particularly children — to be able to safely be housed while we follow through on the rest of what’s happening. That is totally unacceptable.”
Biden said he would not turn unaccompanied minors away when they show up at the border.
“The idea that I’m going to say, which I would never do, if an unaccompanied child ends up at the border we’re just going to let them starve to death and stay on the other side — no previous administration did that either, except Trump. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it,” Biden said.
This story has been updated with additional responses from the President.