The White House on Thursday (April 1) said it was “incredibly alarmed” by a video released by U.S. Border Patrol showing two toddlers being dropped over a 14-foot (4 meter) border fence.
“Our focus is on sending a clear message to the region that…you should not send your kids on this treacherous journey, that these smugglers are preying on vulnerabilities in these communities,” said spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The video showed two young girls being dropped over the fence into New Mexico by two adults, who then ran away up a hill on the Mexican side of the border.
In a statement released on Wednesday (March 31), U.S. Border Patrol said that an agent operating the camera had spotted the girls – sisters from Ecuador aged three and five – being left alone in the middle of the desert.
The agent then alerted police, who picked up the girls and transported them to Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station, where they were medically evaluated and put in temporary holding.
During the wide-ranging briefing, Psaki also addressed the contamination of about 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a Baltimore plant, saying the White House learned about the problem last week.
She added that there would be no disruption to U.S. supply of that vaccine.
“Johnson & Johnson has made clear that they expect to deliver 24 million doses in April and that they expect to meet their commitment of 100 million doses by the end of May,” Psaki said.
Responding to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to fight President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, she said she was certain they could find areas of agreement.
“What we’re really talking about here is how to pay for it, and so what we’re looking for is proposals of alternatives,” she said. “If you don’t want to raise the corporate tax rate…what are the alternatives?”
(Production: Vanessa Johnston)