White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to directly answer a question as to how the Biden administration justifies asking vaccinated Americans to wear masks while the Border Patrol releases coronavirus infected migrants into Texas border towns
"You talked about this administration having a priority of protecting the American people," Fox News' Peter Doocy said to Jean-Pierre Thursday at the White House. "Can you help us understand why is it that the federal government is asking vaccinated Americans to wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 but at the same time, federal agents are also releasing COVID-19 border crossers into small towns in Texas."
"Well, let's step back for a second," Jean-Pierre responded before being briefly interrupted by a nearby fire alarm that Doocy jokingly suggested was triggered by his question.
Jean-Pierre then told Doocy she would try to give him a "30,000 foot view" of the situation and went on to describe the process of placing some migrants into alternative programs rather than detention.
"CBP provides migrants with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times including when they are being transferred or in the process of being released," Jean-Pierre said. "If anyone exhibits signs of illness in CBP custody, they are referred to local health systems for appropriate testing, diagnosis, isolation, and treatment."
Jean-Pierre, appearing to be reading off of a script, added that Border Patrol takes protecting migrants from the virus "very seriously" and complimented local organizations that house migrants.
Doocy's question comes as coronavirus cases among migrants have surged as much as 900% in some areas and Fox News reported earlier this week that illegal immigrants infected with the coronavirus were being released to local charities and housed in rural Texas hotels without the knowledge of local law enforcement.
Additionally, it was reported this week that two DHS whistleblowers warned of dangerous conditions for migrant children at the border and said they were told to downplay the severity of a coronavirus outbreak among migrant children housed at Fort Bliss.