Reality appears to be setting in for some of the networks this week as they are finally, belatedly waking up to the horror at the border, calling the situation a “crisis,” even if the Biden administration won’t. ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday obtained video of the detention centers with reporter Cecilia Vega decrying Joe Biden’s “jail-like” kids in cages debacle. She did this even while using the rote description of how it all contrasts with Donald Trump’s “hardline” policies.
As the MRC’s Bill D’Agostino just documented, journalists attempted to spin Biden’s incompetence as simply a “difficult” and “complex” problem. But now, Vega practically vented from the southern border: “We met little kids, nine and ten-years-old traveling by themselves. Because there are so many kids just like them crossing the border right now, they will likely end up in a facility like this one behind me, severely overcrowded jail-like places not meant for kids.”
She described the awful treatment:
Inside this tent facility on the southern border, so many children they are sleeping on floors. Side by side huddled under foil blankets.... But this is no place for children. Crammed into pods, one pod housing more than 400 boys.
While still referring to Trump’s effective border policies as “hardline,” Vega implied that Biden is out of touch: “But under fire from critics who say they didn't do enough to plan for the surge after overturning many of Trump's hard line immigration policies, the administration still refuses to call the situation a crisis.”
The journalist then played this clueless clip from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki: “Well, children presenting at our border fleeing violence who are fleeing prosecution who are fleeing terrible situations is not a crisis.”
In fact, the networks have now finally moved past the Biden administration’s denial of reality. GMA co-host Robin Roberts on Tuesday opened the segment this way: “We're going to move on to our ABC News exclusive on the crisis at the border.” On CBS This Morning, co-host Anthony Mason declared, “CBS News is learning about new steps the Biden administration is taking to try to ease the growing crisis at the border.”
On NBC’s Today, co-host Hoda Kotb also flatly used the word: “Let's move to another major story this morning. We're talking about the border crisis.”
A transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Good Morning America
7:13:46 to 7:17:18
ROBIN ROBERTS We're going to move on to our ABC News exclusive on the crisis at the border. Our first look at video inside one of the facilities that has been overwhelmed by the surge in migrants. Our chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega is outside that facility. It's in Donna, Texas. Good morning, Cecilia.
CECILIA VEGA: Robin, good morning to you. We were out late into the night talking to migrants who just crossed the border. We met little kids, nine- and ten-years old traveling by themselves. We met little kids, nine and ten-years-old traveling by themselves. Because there are so many kids just like them crossing the border right now, they will likely end up in a facility like this one behind me, severely overcrowded jail-like places not meant for kids. Inside this tent facility on the southern border, so many children they are sleeping on floors. Side by side huddled under foil blankets. The Biden administration refusing to allow journalists in to see for themselves, sources providing this first look.
This video shot by Customs and Border Protection last week obtained exclusively by ABC News. Only 250 people are supposed to be held here. Instead there are close to 4,000. Some families mostly unaccompanied minors traveling alone from teenage boys to infants. Here, toddlers in a playpen being watched by a caretaker. The kids made the treacherous journey all the way from Central America hoping to claim asylum. Inside they get medical checks and line up one by one for food. This video showing girls at a center in El Paso exercising outside but this is no place for children. Crammed into pods, one pod housing more than 400 boys. The White House says they're working as quickly as possible to move these kids into shelters and homes calling in FEMA for help. But under fire from critics who say they didn't do enough to plan for the surge after overturning many of Trump's hard line immigration policies, the administration still refuses to call the situation a crisis.
JEN PSAKI: Well, children presenting at our border fleeing violence who are fleeing prosecution who are fleeing terrible situations is not a crisis.
VEGA: At the border we're with authorities on patrol and the children just keep coming. This family telling me they've been traveling for more than a month, walking most of the way. He tells me he's not tired. He says he's ready to keep walking. And just up the road an even larger group, in it these two boys, nine and ten years old, both traveling alone walking for more than a month. The group has taken them in promising to keep them safe. The boys show me phone numbers of family members in the U.S. They soon hope to find. One written on a hat.
WOMAN: This is his grandfather's phone number.
VEGA: The other written inside his pocket.
VEGA: Right here in his pants. I ask, are you scared? Yes, they tell me, very. They are scared and they are hungry. After we met those kids they then went into Border Patrol custody. From there, they are taken to places like this facility where there are so many skids that are being held way past -- many of them held way past the three days they're allowed to be here. From there into a foster system or shelter more suitable for kids, but it could take more than a month to reunite them with their families, Robin. They have a long way to go. Robin, I will tell you I will never forget the faces of those little boys we met last night.
ROBERTS: I know you won't, Cecilia. I know that you won't. Thank you so much. Amy?