Officials exclusively told NBC News that they received verbal instructions about restrictions on what the agency can share.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – La administración de Biden está restringiendo la información que los agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza y los jefes de sector pueden compartir con los medios de comunicación a medida que un aumento de migrantes pone a prueba la capacidad de la agencia en la frontera sur, según lo que dijeron cuatro funcionarios actuales y dos ex funcionarios de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza en exclusiva a NBC News.
Los funcionarios comentaron que las restricciones se ven como una “orden de mordaza” no oficial y a menudo se le refiere así entre colegas. Además, los funcionarios solicitaron permanecer bajo anonimato a NBC News porque no están autorizados a hablar con los medios sobre el tema.
Conforme a los entrevistados, se les ha dicho a los funcionarios de la Patrulla Fronteriza que nieguen todas las solicitudes de los medios de acompañar a los agentes en sus labores de patrullaje a lo largo de la frontera.
También especificaron que los oficiales de prensa locales reciben instrucciones de enviar todas las peticiones de información, incluso la de los medios locales, a la oficina de prensa en Washington,D.C. para su aprobación; y a los responsables de recopilar datos sobre el número de migrantes bajo custodia se les ha recordado que no compartan la información con nadie para evitar filtraciones, dijeron los funcionarios.
Multiple news organizations, including NBC News, have requested access to or photos of the inside of processing facilities that house unaccompanied migrant children following reports of over-capacity; they have been denied.
The new restrictions have been conveyed verbally, not through an official memorandum, officials said. The unofficial policy has prompted some agents at the border to post videos showing mass arrests and waves of migrants without permission from Washington, two officials said.
Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security have not offered media tours of the newly opened processing facility in Donna, Texas, which is reportedly over-capacity with unaccompanied migrant children, said a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official.
Some of the restrictions, particularly for in-person tours, are due to COVID-19 precautions, one of the current officials said. But, as the current official put it, while the Trump administration allowed some border travel for journalists during the pandemic, there hasn’t been “a single one since January 20,” the day President Joe Biden took office.
A DHS spokesperson said the agency is following the standards set in 2014.
“Across the federal government, certain employees are designated spokespersons for their respective agencies and public statements are scrutinized for accuracy. This standard and process has been followed at DHS since the Department’s inception and in all bipartisan administrations. Customs and Border Protection continues to publicly provide the same monthly data on the same schedule as it has since 2014, “the spokesperson said.
As reported by NBC News, the Trump administration’s media strategy for DHS often focused on highlighting the dangers posed by migrants, sometimes inflating the risk. Politically appointed public affairs officials under President Donald Trump lobbied local border sectors to publicize the arrests and bring national media organizations to the border to see agents in action.
“Part of maintaining public trust is communicating regularly and frequently,” said a former official.
A second current official, who has served in the past three administrations, said the current situation for Customs and Border Protection personnel is more similar to what it was during the Obama administration.
“It was more restrictive under Obama than under Trump, when there was more autonomy for each region to speak to the media,” the current second official said.
With the change of tone of the Biden administration, which has committed to a more humane system on the southern border, some border agents have posted videos without permission.
One of those videos was posted online over the weekend by the office of Representative Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. The video shows dozens of migrants, including young children, being rafted across the Rio Grande. A Cuellar spokeswoman said the video was filmed in March but that “Congresswoman Cuellar cannot say who gave him the video.” However, two officials said the video came from a border agent.
Cuellar has previously criticized President Biden for not visiting the border during the surge.
Another key piece of information is the number of unaccompanied children in Border Patrol custody. While the number has historically been somewhat protected as it is sensitive to law enforcement, a congressional aide said the data has been more difficult to accumulate amid a crackdown on leaks.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on March 1, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pledged to be transparent with the media, citing “another principle that I intend to adhere to during my tenure, and that is openness and transparency. , and that includes the Fourth Estate. “
Mayorkas was responding to a reporter who said that he had been denied access to Border Patrol facilities and that the agency had cited COVID-19 restrictions. Mayorkas said he would investigate it to find out why he was denied access.
In a statement released Tuesday, Mayorkas said DHS is “on track to find more people on the southwest border than it has in the last 20 years.”
The Biden administration is in a difficult position when it comes to messages on immigration. On the one hand, he wants to show voters that he has a more humane approach, while on the other hand he does not want to encourage more undocumented immigrants to cross the border.
Speaking at the White House last week, Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s coordinator for the southern border, told reporters: “Sometimes it is difficult to convey both the hope for the future and the danger it is now. And that’s what we are trying. ” to do. And I will certainly agree that we are trying to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
News extracted from https: telemundodallas.com
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