Meghan McCain gets schooled by White House press secretary Jen Psaki on "The View"

“We are not ripping children from the arms of their parents. That is horrible and immoral"

Published February 25, 2021 6:44PM (EST)

Meghan McCain on The View (ABC)
Meghan McCain on The View (ABC)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki joined ABC's "The View" on Thursday for a virtual round table discussion. When co-host Meghan McCain broached the topic of immigration, accusing Biden's administration of hypocrisy, Psaki politely set her straight. 

According to McCain, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris aggressively spoke out against "kids in cages" while campaigning for the White House and are now hypocritically doing much of the same by opening a new Health and Human Services facility. Psaki begged to differ.

"I feel like this is the same thing and that you're still detaining kids at the border and it's not meaningfully different from what President Trump was doing," said McCain. 

"Well, absolutely not the same thing, Meghan," Psaki shot back. "We are not ripping children from the arms of their parents. That is horrible and immoral and something we saw in the last administration."

The Biden administration was forced to reopen a HHS facility because many children were still separated from their guardians. NBC News reported that when Trump left office, there were 611 children in captivity whose parents were yet to be found. On Wednesday, that number was down to 506 children. Although there are many reunions still to come, the 105 child difference is notable. 

Psaki defended the new facilities by saying they are the necessary next step in helping reunite children with their families while keeping them safe from COVID-19 and well taken care of overall. 

"What we're seeing is, kids are fleeing prosecution," said Psaki. "They're fleeing really difficult circumstances in their home country and they're coming to the border and we have to figure out how to treat them humanely and keep them safe. And in the time of covid, that means we needed to open an additional facility so that we could have educational services, so we could have legal services, so we could have medical and health services, and have those kids there treated humanely until we can find proper homes, family placements for these kids."

"I just wanted to know are you or are you not detaining children separately and in a different facility?" asked McCain, echoing the combative tone of former Trump adviser Stephen Miller on Fox News Wednesday. 

Psaki explained that the new facility was "revamped" in order to ensure optimum safety and well being for the remaining children. "We can't send them directly to families that haven't been vetted," she said. "We've seen issues with that in the past. We can't have them all in the former HHS facility because of COVID, and we need to make sure there are safety protocols so they're not in beds next to each other."

McCain called the new facility a "potato, patahto" hypocrisy, claiming that Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, is also adamantly against the facilities. Psaki explained that kids are no longer being separated from their families, reassuring her that was only happening during the Trump administration.   

"Our objective is to get these kids into safe homes with their families as quickly as possible," said Psaki. "And we are absolutely not doing what the former president did, and what frankly the current president and the current vice president objected to, which is ripping kids from the arms of their parents. That is not the policy of this administration and not something we would do." 

By Molly Wilcox

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Immigration Jen Psaki Meghan Mccain The View