White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre snapped at Fox News reporter Peter Doocy when he asked her to clarify her assertion that illegal immigration had “come down by 90%” during a press briefing on Monday.
“When it comes to illegal migration, you have seen it come down by more than 90%, and that’s because of the actions that this president has taken,” Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday. After the statement generated puzzled reactions, Doocy followed up in the following day’s press briefing.
“You said yesterday that when it comes to illegal migration, you’ve seen it come down by more than 90%. Where did that number come from?” Doocy asked. The Fox News White House correspondent then began citing U.S. Customs and Border Patrol figures that contradict the claim, to which Jean-Pierre began to interject. “I hear you, I’m about to answer… I’m about to answer,” she said as Doocy was still speaking.
Jean-Pierre then asked if “the dramatics could come down a little bit” before again saying she would answer the question.
“So I was speaking to the parolee program. As you know the president put in a parolee program to deal with certain countries on ways we can limit illegal migration. And we have seen, the data has shown us that it has gone down by more than 90%. That it what I was speaking to,” she stated before quickly moving on.
Doocy to WH press sec: "You said yesterday that when it comes to illegal migration, you've seen it come down by more than 90%. Where did that number come from?" pic.twitter.com/hXAhUz9n74
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) May 2, 2023
Jean-Pierre’s statement was met with shock considering the situation at the border does not reflect her statement. In March, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported 191,899 encounters with immigrants along the southern border, a massive increase from 35,000 reported encounters in February. The trend has continued after a record 2.76 migrant encounters were reported at the southern border for the fiscal year 2022.
In addition, border towns are currently preparing for unprecedented surges as the COVID-era Title 42 is set to end later this month. Former President Trump invoked the statute in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has allowed federal health authorities to turn asylum seekers away in order to stop the spread of communicable diseases.
With the policy set to end on May 11, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has reported a massive surge in migrant encounters and anticipate the situation to dramatically worsen. Border Patrol is currently reporting around 7,000 migrant encounters a day, though this number could double when Title 42 expires.
In preparation for the expected surge, President Biden has authorized 1,500 troops for deployment along the southern border.