White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed a reporter’s question on Wednesday about whether President Biden wants more migrants to come to his home state of Delaware amid a historic surge in encounters at the southern border.
“Does President Biden want more migrants to come to Delaware?” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre at the White House.
“I don’t even understand that question. I will move on,” the press secretary replied.
The exchange came after Jean-Pierre criticized governors in border states for bussing thousands of migrants to New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
“They’re sending migrants – as we’ve seen the last several months, the last several weeks – they’re sending migrants without letting city officials know, without letting the federal government know,” Jean-Pierre said. “What they do is they call TV news stations to be there to capture this moment and use it as a political stunt.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has bussed more than 8,200 migrants to Washington, D.C., 3,300 migrants to New York City, and 1,000 migrants to Chicago this year in an effort to bring awareness to the border crisis.
“We have a president who has refused to go see the chaos that he’s created on the border and a border czar, Kamala Harris, who’s refused to say what’s going on the border,” Abbott told Fox News last month.
“If they will not go to the border, we’re taking the border to them, so they can see the challenges they’re imposing to the entire United States of America.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who chartered two flights of about 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts last month, was reportedly planning to transport a group of migrants to Delaware, but the trip never happened.
There have been more than 2.1 million migrant encounters at the southern border so far this fiscal year, a record high, including 203,000 in August alone.
The Biden administration announced a new border enforcement campaign with Mexico last month in response to the migrant surge, which will increase checkpoints, target human smuggling operations, and allow the federal government to expel Venezuelan nationals under a public health order that was implemented during the Trump administration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Biden quipped that DeSantis should visit Delaware himself when asked about a potential migrant flight to Delaware last month.
“He should come visit. We have a beautiful shoreline,” Biden told reporters.