Psaki claims Biden erred when he referred to the youth border boom as a crisis.
President Biden misspoke on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, when he said that there is an epidemic of unaccompanied minors entering the US-Mexico border.
Biden declared Saturday that the arrival of "young people" "at the border" was a "crisis." However, Psaki mentioned during her regular press briefing that Biden does not believe that.
Biden used the term, which administration officials have been careful to avoid, in defending the White House's decision on Friday not to immediately raise refugee admissions. He said that the current border situation made expanding eligibility a bad idea.
“The issue was that the refugee component was tasked with resolving a crisis that culminated on the border with young people. We couldn't do two things at the same time," Biden said.
However, Psaki told reporters that Biden believes the problem is in Central America, not at the border, where many young migrants are detained in overcrowded, jail-like conditions.
“The president does not believe that children seeking asylum from terror, economic difficulties, and other desperate circumstances at our border constitute a crisis,” Psaki said.
“He does believe that the crisis in Central America, the desperate conditions that many are leaving, is a situation that requires our attention, our commitment, and resolution if we are to avoid another flood of migrants in the years to come,” she added.
Biden charged Vice President Kamala Harris with fixing the crisis's "root causes" last month. Harris has talked on the phone with leaders in Guatemala and Mexico, but has not visited the border or met with leaders in El Salvador or Honduras. Harris announced last week that she intends to visit Latin America, but no specific date has been announced.