Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is pressuring President Joe Biden to be more transparent with the media about the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The White House faces criticism from reporters for restricting media access to Customs and Border Protection facilities that are housing thousands of unaccompanied migrant children. Last week, when Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas led a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers to tour the U.S. border, reporters were barred from covering their tour due to “privacy and COVID-19 restrictions.”
More than 15,000 migrant children have been detained by the federal government, but the “crowded, makeshift conditions” these children were kept in were not reported until Monday when Axios obtained exclusive photos of kids being kept in cage-like “pods.”
In a letter to the president, Sen. Cruz said it was “outrageous and hypocritical” of Biden to bar reporters from access to the situation at the border.
“As part of our oversight duties as Senators, I and 14 of my colleagues will travel to the border this week to talk to the brave men and women on the ground who are working every today [sic] to stop this crisis and secure our border,” Cruz wrote.
“But it is not enough for members of the Senate to see what is happening — the American people must see. That is why I requested that members of the media be allowed to join us. But your administration clearly and emphatically refused to offer press access. This is outrageous and hypocritical.”
Cruz chastised the president’s administration for pledging “truth and transparency” and now breaking that promise.
At the beginning of your administration, Press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed the importance of “truth and transparency” and a “deep respect for the role of a free and independent press.” At the beginning of the month, Secretary Mayorkas stated that he would adhere to principles of “openness and transparency.” But now, when your administration faces a crisis of your own making, you are refusing to allow the very transparency you promised and that you demanded from prior administrations.Denying the press the ability to observe, film, and report on the conditions at the border is not openness or transparency-it is hiding the truth from the American people. The press and the American people deserve more than denials and excuses from a podium. They deserve to see and understand the crisis for themselves with the help of reporters who are free and independent from your administration.
On Friday, Sens. Cruz and John Cornyn (R-Texas) will lead a delegation of 14 lawmakers to tour the Rio Grande Valley. Cruz said it’s “unacceptable” that the Biden administration will not permit reporters to join them.
“I call on you to reverse this decision immediately and commit to allowing free and fair reporting on the crisis at the border,” Cruz said.