New York Times reporter pushes Biden administration on treating migrants worse than Trump

"Well, obviously, we take a different view," Kirby said.

Updated: January 8, 2023 - 1:52pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

New York Times reporter Michael Shear pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Council spokesman John Kirby to respond to allegations that migrants are being treated more poorly now than they were during the Trump administration. 

"I spent a long time covering immigration stuff during the Trump years.  I — I never saw more damning quotes from immigration advocacy groups and human rights groups during the Trump years than — as I saw yesterday towards this administration," Shear said Friday at a press briefing, according to the official White House transcript.

He said how some migrant advocates are calling it a "humanitarian disgrace" that President Joe Biden decided to parole some migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela into the United States while sending others to Mexico.

"What does the administration say to the overwhelming consensus from people who advocate on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees and migrants that what the President did yesterday was 'a humanitarian disgrace'?" he asked. 

"Well, obviously, we take a different view," Kirby said. He argued that Biden is "striking that balance" by allowing more refugees in and encouraging legal pathways to migrate. 

Shear later said how lawsuits "were filed against the Trump administration over and over and over again about their immigration policies," but this time lawsuits would be against the Biden administration.

"That puts this President, who spent so much time on the campaign trail talking about how — you know, how he wanted to be different than Donald Trump when it came to immigration issues — I mean, it just puts you guys in a really awkward place, doesn't it?" he asked.

"I understand what you’re saying.  But I do take — you know, I do take issue with comparing us to Donald Trump," Jean-Pierre responded. "You’re talking about an administration who had a policy — right? — that tore babies away from their moms, from their parents, from their families.  That was the President’s — President — the last administration — that President’s philosophy or policies.  And that’s what they did.  And this is not this President."