White House press secretary: Children fleeing violence is not a crisis

The White House said on Monday it is "working to finalise details" of a plan to allow press access to the southern border facilities where migrants are being held. The announcement from press secretary Jen Psaki comes amid a surge of unaccompanied migrant children at the border and multiple requests from the Associated Press and other media organisations to allow access to border facilities.

Video Transcript

- Is that not a crisis, and what conditions or situations-- what metrics would have to be in place for the administration to call it that?

JEN PSAKI: Well, children presenting at our border, who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing prosecution, who are fleeing terrible situations, is not a crisis. We feel that it is our responsibility to humanely approach this circumstance and make sure they are treated and put in conditions that are safe. I will say that these photos show what we've long been saying, which is that these border patrol facilities are not places made for children.

They are not places that we want children to be staying for a extended period of time. Our alternative is to send children back on this treacherous journey. That is not, in our view, the right choice to make, so our focus now is on putting in place is on solutions and putting in place policies, including expediting processing at the border, opening up additional facilities. Something that you've seen developments on over the past several days, and there will be certainly more on.

Restarting our Central American Minors Program, which was stopped in 2017. Thousands of kids should be eligible to apply for that, so they're not making this journey. So our focus is on solutions and implementing them as quickly as possible.