​White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted on Monday that migrants are not just “walking” across the border — an event captured near daily by press photographers.

The stunning answer came in response to a question by Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who asked why potentially unvaccinated migrants continue to arrive in the US but tennis star Novak Djokovic couldn’t compete in the US Open, which kicked off in Flushing Meadows, Queens today.  

“It is not that simple. It’s not just that people are walking across the border. We have a plan in place. This is not like switching the lights on. ​T​his is going to take a process,” Jean-Pierre said about the thousands of migrants that are crossing into the US every week as she pivoted to criticize the former administration’s immigration policies. ​

“We are fixing a broken system that was actually left by the last administration. And as it relates to the tennis star, that is totally different. That is a different process​,” she insisted, noting that Djokovic’s beef is with the US Open but he still has to abide by federal regulations.

Doocy pushed back, saying the situation at the border isn’t the same as the White House describes it.​

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that migrants aren't just "walking" across the border during a press briefing on August 29, 2022.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that migrants aren’t just “walking” across the border during a press briefing on August 29, 2022.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“Thousands of people are walking in in a day. Some of them turn themselves over. Some of them — ​tens of ​thousands a week are not,” he said.​

Jean-Pierre responded by ticking off a number of initiatives the administration has begun — including working with Mexico and Guatemala to catch human traffickers, securing more funding for the Department of Homeland Security, and increasing the number of judges to hear asylum cases faster.

“By contrast, or to the prior administration, ​i​mmigration strategy was to build a wall and they couldn’t even come accomplish that in the four years​ … which is also a policy that just does not work​,” she said. ​​​

Border Patrol agents with asylum-seeking migrants who cross the border into Roma, Texas on August 26, 2022.
Border Patrol agents with asylum-seeking migrants who cross the border into Roma, Texas on August 26, 2022.
REUTERS/Adrees Latif

D​oocy a​sked why requirements set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention​ under Title 42 apply differently to migrants crossing the border and to world-class tennis stars like Djokovic who fly into the US. 

A​fter some back and forth about Title 42, which allows the administration to refuse entry ​to asylum seekers to prevent spreading the coronavirus, Jean-Pierre said the public health regulation​ is a “CDC imperative.”

​”​That is, that is not how it works. ​Title 42 is very much in place and that is the process. So there is a CDC provision for folks coming through the southern border, it is not just for ​tennis players​,” she said.

“Migrants also have a CDC guidance that ​they have to follow​,​ which is title 42​,” Jean-Pierre said.

Djokovic announced last week that he would withdraw from the US Open because he decided not to get vaccinated against COVIC-19. 

The number of migrants arrested at the US-Mexico border has already exceeded last year’s record — and is on pace to top 2 million for the first time ever, according to the Biden administration.

And several of the more than 7,000 migrants bused up to New York City from Texas have arrived infected with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the CDC still bans entry to the US for unvaccinated non-American citizens.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic was unable to compete in the US Open due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.
Tennis star Novak Djokovic was unable to compete in the US Open due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.
Photo by Nedim Grabovica/Xinhua via Getty Images

Djokovic, who won Wimbledon last month, also missed the Australian Open in January because of concerns about his vaccination status. 

Title 42 was implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020 to keep COVID from spreading in immigration centers. 

But the CDC this spring said it would allow Title 42 to expire, setting off a number of legal battles that resulted in a ruling by a federal judge in Louisiana blocking the Biden administration from doing so. ​

The matter is still being contested in the courts.

​US Customs and Border Protection estimates that as many as 2 million migrants have been refused entry because of Title 42 restrictions.

But it also notes that the regulation does not prohibit migrants from trying to cross the border again, resulting in repeated attempted crossings. 



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