Americans angry at reports that the Biden administration is doling out taxpayer-funded cellphones to illegal immigrants can now rest assured that it is happening and is a strategy that’s – kind of – working.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki essentially confirmed that migrants caught at the U.S. border trying to illegally enter the country are being gifted smartphones free of charge by the Department of Homeland Security.
During Wednesday’s press briefing, Psaki touted the cellphone plan as one of three strategies the administration is using to track illegal immigrants all while Americans struggle to fill their gas tanks and afford groceries.
“Our team in Texas is saying that you guys are starting to give smartphones to border crossers hoping that they’ll use the phones to check in, to be tracked,” Fox News’ Peter Doocy said during Wednesday’s briefing.
Jen Psaki confirms Biden is giving FREE PHONES to illegal immigrants before releasing them into the U.S. pic.twitter.com/rJnbhTGXuK
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 6, 2022
“Which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the States?” he asked.
Psaki’s snarky response was an immediate dig at Doocy who has been a thorn in the side of the administration during pressers as he continues to ask the probing questions.
“Well, I think you of all people — since you’ve asked me a range of questions on this topic over time — would recognize that we need to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are and we can track — and we can check in with them,” she said.
“The alternatives to detention programs — is what we utilize — has three unique forms of technology to monitor participants enrolled in the program,” she continued, elaborating on the “telephonic” strategy in which migrants give a “biometric voiceprint,” monitoring using a smartphone or tablet using facial-matching technology, and using satellite technology to track through an ankle bracelet.
“This is all part of our effort, as individuals come into the United States and individuals who are entering who will proceed to immigration proceedings, to monitor and track where they are,” she said, defending the plans.
Doocy pressed her on concerns voiced by many already about how the government ensures that illegal immigrants don’t just throw away the phones.
“Do you have a record of people throwing phones away?” Psaki snarked.
“I’m just asking if that’s a concern,” Doocy replied.
Sources tell me w/ parole releases, the migrants are asked to turn themselves into ICE in a city of their choice. I’m told many of them are given these phones by the government to track them and allow them to communicate w/ ICE, but there’s no way to stop them from being tossed. pic.twitter.com/tAogWloQgy
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 5, 2022
“Our concern is ensuring that individuals who irregularly migrate to the United States proceed through our process of, you know, of course, being monitored, but also participating in — in hearings to determine whether or not they will be able to stay,” Psaki said.
“I would note that nearly 80 percent of non-citizens released at the border from DHS custody under prosecut- — prosecutorial discretion have either received a notice to appear or are still within their window to report,” she added, continuing her defense of the strategy.
“So, actually, the vast, vast majority of people are appearing. In part, we have these monitors and monitoring systems in order to do that effectively,” she concluded.
In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday, Sen. Josh Hawley questioned the “reports that DHS plans to provide migrants with free phones,” Fox News reported.
“These reports demand answers,” the Missouri Republican said, adding that U.S. Customs and Border Protection “reported over two million encounters with aliens illegally crossing the southern border” in 2021.
this, he noted, is “the highest number ever recorded,” and pointed out some apprehended illegal migrants “have been identified as previously deported MS-13 gang members.”
Psaki’s defense of the cellphone plan was met with expected outrage on Twitter:
Be legally present in the country and you’ll be selling pints of blood to afford groceries and gas, but come in illegally and they give you an all expenses paid cell phone, a welcome basket and taxpayer funded room, board, healthcare and education. https://t.co/LcXZgJm6bn
— Rising serpent 🇺🇸 (@rising_serpent) April 7, 2022
Non citizens getting better treatment from the government than citizens. No taxes, free phones, free housing, free health insurance. I’m thinking about denouncing my citizenship if that means I can get those benefits.
— Will (@notPiddle) April 6, 2022
So I have to pay taxes to buy phones for felony invaders of our country AND I still have to buy my own phone?
— nickJR (@_nick_jr_) April 6, 2022
Then why shouldn’t I get a free phone? I only served my country 26 years with 5 Desert deployments
— Derrol Turner (@Dttravelinman1) April 6, 2022
They sneer as you struggle to pay rising food and gas costs, and give freebies to illegal immigrants. https://t.co/DRW516g5If
— Amy “Ice Shanty Hoe” Curtis (@RantyAmyCurtis) April 6, 2022
They ain’t free.
— Druw (@chidiscourse23) April 7, 2022
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