Question: How do you know things are really, really, bad at the border, and that the Biden administration is trying to cover it up? Answer: When even Yamiche Alcindor admits it.
On Wednesday's Morning Joe, it was PBS/MSNBC's Yamiche Alcindor, a normally-dependable Democrat supporter and Trump critic, describing children who are "crying and terrified" and "not let out for sunlight for days at a time." Alcindor stated that the Biden administration is preventing reporters from viewing the detention facilities or doing "ride-alongs" with border patrols, as was allowed under Trump.
Interviewed by Willie Geist, Alcindor began by echoing the White House line that they are "scrambling" to improve conditions. But she went on to acknowledge that even if the problem was "handed" to the Biden administration, it's now "happening on their watch."
Geist handled matters fairly, pointing out:
"If it had been the Trump administration, we'd be rightly outraged that they were blacking out information on a very important story. So does this suggest that they have something to hide at the border?"
NBC reporter Julia Ainsley has written about the restrictions the Biden administration has placed on what border agents can share with the media.
Also a guest in the segment, Ainsley confirmed Alcindor's take about the bad conditions and the way the Biden administration is attempting to stifle reporting on it. Beyond the denial of access to facilities or for ride-alongs, Ainsley mentioned that the children "oftentimes don’t even have a bed, [and] the lights are kept on 24 hours a day."
Ainsley also reported something perhaps even more ominous:
"We also understand that people who crunch those numbers that I just gave you, they have been given recent orders not to leak because they don’t want more of this information out there."
So here's the picture of President Biden's handling of the border:
Crying, terrified children unable to see the sun for days. Denial of press access. Orders to number-crunchers to hide the facts. And what must be most terrifying of all to the White House is that the normally-reliable liberal media is beginning to report these glaring failures!
Here's the transcript. Click "expand" to read more.
7:36 am EDT
JULIA AINSLEY: As of this weekend, there were over 4,000 unaccompanied children in border patrol custody. Those are situations, conditions not made for children. Oftentimes they don’t even have a bed, the lights are kept on 24 hours a day. And then a key number here, Willie, we understand that nearly 3,000 of those children have been kept past the three-day legal limit.
. . .
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: These children, according to reports and to lawyers that I've talked to and others have talked to, these children are crying, they’re terrified, they’re saying that they’re not being let out for sunlight for days at a time.
So, what you have here is a very, very tough situation the Biden administration now needs to contend with. And we have not still been allowed in a lot of these facilities, a lot of the media requests to do ride-alongs, to be inside these facilities, to try to interact with these children, to really get a first-hand account from the media’s perspective, to really report on this have been denied. And I think that situation is in some ways really untenable.
. . .
WILLIE GEIST: And Julia, your reporting on that point exactly, about access to the media to what exactly's going on right there. What is the Biden administration doing and how are they gagging, according to some sources, border patrol?
JULIA AINSLEY: That’s right. I mean, Yamiche lays it out. There’s a lot of frustration about access during this critical time. And I started digging around and talking to some border patrol officials who say they now have to run everything, even local requests, through Washington.
. . .
Just a couple things that we’re not getting now that we used to, Willie. We understand that all ride-alongs along the border have now come to a halt as of January 20th. While there was some decrease because of Covid, the Trump administration at least did allow some of that. There’s been no access inside these facilities where the children are being held. We also understand that people who crunch those numbers that I just gave you, they have been given recent orders not to leak because they don’t want more of this information out there before they can control it and control the message on it.
And we also understand that when it comes to getting local interviews, that would be with border sector chiefs, that oftentimes those are denied. And these are stories that a lot of these border officials want to get out there.
GEIST: And Julia, how unusual is that? I mean, if it had been the Trump administration, we'd be rightly outraged that they were blacking out information on a very important story. So does this suggest that they have something to hide at the border?
AINSLEY: Well, you know, I spoke to someone who's worked through the past three administrations, who said really they’re going back to more of an obama-era approach where everything is run through Washington.
But really what we’re watching play out here is more of a culture war where you have a lot of border agents, the union was very pro-Trump, who are now starting to leak out videos, anonymously, which can be very dangerous because we don’t know where things are coming from. So right now, yes, it’s very frustrating from a journalist perspective. We want access, no matter who is in charge. Especially when it comes to this vulnerable population of children. We need to know their conditions here. We need to be able to see it first-hand. I have toured facilities in the past where children are being held, and now we unable to get any of that access.