‘Not intending to stay?’ Psaki’s explanation for failing to COVID test illegals panned

Psaki says migrants crossing the southern border and foreign nationals arriving by air 'not the same thing' and shouldn't be compared
Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, Sept. 17
Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, Sept. 17
(Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was grilled Monday as to why migrants who entered the country illegally do not have to show proof of vaccination, and her answer stirred immediate controversy.

The exchange came as the Biden administration eased travel restrictions by only allowing foreign nationals who are vaccinated to enter the U.S.

Psaki said you can’t compare the two situations because they are extremely different circumstances. 

When pressed on the issue, Psaki seemed to be unsure about the administration's policy.

"As individuals come across the border, they are both assessed for whether they have any symptoms, if they have symptoms, the intention is for them to have to be quarantined," Psaki said, referring to migrants crossing into the U.S. 

"They are not intending to stay here for a lengthy period of time," she continued. "I don’t think it’s the same thing. It is not the same thing." 

Psaki’s comments were immediately panned by conservatives, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.

“Psaki just said they are only quarantining illegal immigrants with symptoms and not testing all of them or mandating vaccines for all because they ‘aren’t planning to stay here for a long time,’” Boebert tweeted. “Bullcrap.”

Psaki’s comments come after the U.S. Border Patrol shut down the port of entry at Del Rio, Texas after images went viral of thousands of migrants attempting to cross the border illegally.

After receiving criticism from both sides of the aisle, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would be sending more resources and officers to Del Rio to help apprehend and deport illegal migrants.

The administration has been facing two-decade highs in illegal border crossings, with the totals exceeding 200,000 in both July and August.