The Weekday White House: Reunifying children separated by Donald Trump

Jen Psaki conducted her 10th press conference as the White House Press Secretary today. In addition to COVID relief and vaccination, the headlining topic today was President Biden's executive actions on immigration, slated to coincide with the confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as the Secretary of Homeland Security.

On the immigration front, the President's actions today will:

  • Create a task force to find and reunite migrant children separated by the Trump Administration under its inhumane family separation policy.
  • Take the first step toward reversing Trump's 'Remain in Mexico' policy by reviewing and overhauling legal asylum process in the United States, but Psaki pointed out that the Biden administration needs time to put the proper resources and legal framework in place before full reversal.
  • Order a top-to-bottom review of how the Trump administration handled immigration and take steps toward reviewing (and ultimately, reversing) Trump's public charge rule.

On COVID treatment and vaccination, Psaki noted that:

  • Since coming into office less than two weeks ago, the Biden administration has increased weekly vaccine shipment by 20%.
  • Initial steps have been taken on a plan to bring vaccines to 40,000 local pharmacies. More than 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of those pharmacies.
  • The President has directed FEMA to fully reimburse states for costs of protective gear, testing, and other coronavirus related medical costs, retroactive to January 2020.
  • The travel bans related to COVID will remain in effect as long as scientists deem them necessary.

On COVID economic relief, Psaki's briefing covered the following:

  • The meeting with GOP senators last night was productive and cordial.
  • The President also spoke with Democrats by video-conferencing today.
  • The administration will not back off the needs for a substantive and large relief package. Biden's offer is still the full $1.9 trillion.
  • A new poll from Yahoo/YouGov shows not just major public support for Biden's American Rescue Plan but parts of the plan, like the direct payments, have the backing of three out of four Americans.

Today's White House press conference also covered the following:

  • The President has ordered the release of $1.3 billion in aide to Puerto Rico that Trump had held up, and reversed onerous requirements it had  imposed on the territory to access the funds.
  • The President was briefed on the shooting death of two FBI agents attempting to serve a warrant in Florida this morning.
  • The United States demands the immediate release of Alexei Navalny and other political prisoners in Russia.
  • The Biden administration is reversing the Trump administration's late decision to cancel certain tariffs on the United Arab Emirates.
  • The White House is monitoring additional threats of violence in the wake of Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, slated to begin in the Senate next week.

Let's do this again, tomorrow.