DHS officials admit to pre-screening reporter questions on the border, but won’t do it again
The Biden administration says it will no longer pre-screen reporter questions in future briefings after it admitted to using new system that forced reporters to submit written questions that were screened in a Friday press call.
Officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Defense on Friday held a virtual briefing Friday on the border crisis following the ending of Title 42 policies that had been used to justify a denial of entry for illegal immigrations. Those policies ended Thursday, prompting a wave of illegal immigrants at the border.
But instead of following normal press conference protocol of reporters spontaneously asking questions, the officials used a new system that forced reporters to submit written questions, which were read aloud by officials and answered, allowing officials to pre-screen the questions.
A question submitted by Fox News asking for confirmation of reports that an unaccompanied minor migrant child had died in U.S. custody was not answered in the briefing.
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A spokesperson for DHS told Fox News that the agency had “tried a new system for the first time in an effort of transparency to allow reporters from across the country to ask administration officials questions on the record and on camera.”
“We will be addressing this system and will consider other options in the future,” the spokesperson said. DHS went further by telling Fox News that it would return to the “raise your hand” function during calls and allow reporters to ask their own questions without first providing them to the government.
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A Honduran official on Friday confirmed the death of 17-year-old Honduran ?ngel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza in U.S. custody while he had been at a shelter in Safety Harbor, Florida. Honduran foreign minister Eduardo Reina called for an “exhaustive investigation” into the death.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the child had died, in a statement Friday. “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our heart goes out to the family, with whom we are in touch,” it said.
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“As is standard practice for any situation involving the death of an unaccompanied child or a serious health outcome, HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Division of Health for Unaccompanied Children (DHUC) is reviewing all clinical details of this case, including all inpatient health care records. A medical examiner investigation is underway,” it added.
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Fox News Digital’s Timothy H.J. Nerrozi contributed to this report.