DHS officials have silences various top officials and spokespersons to prevent them from conversing with the media about the situation on the border, according to two Customs and Border Protection officials.
This muzzling contrasts with the relative transparency with the Trump administration, which also focused on immigration and provided a forum for agency officials to speak.
Current orders, however, instruct officials to adhere to approved statements and messaging, which has limited CBP communications regarding the migrant influx at the U.S.-Mexico border. This agency is in charge of Border Patrol, as well as the officers working at land crossings.
The two senior CBP employees informed the Washington Examiner that border tour requests are being denied allegedly due to the COVID pandemic. Nonetheless, “ride-alongs” for seeing the new the border wall and various arrests continue, though to a smaller extent through late 2020.
Various officials have effectively been placed under a “gag order,” and they are not permitted to share any statements to the media outside of those approved by the Biden administration, per the CBP employees.
While media tours throughout the Border Patrol facilities are generally rare, they can be facilitated. In 2018, news outlets, such as the Washington Examiner, took a tour of border facilities in McAllen Texas, where parents and children were separated under Trump’s “zero tolerance policy” regarding illegal immigration.
However, the media now has no access to the Border Patrol facilities, though more facilities have become overcrowded with migrants, including children without parents. In addition, they are being held several days longer than the officially sanctioned three days.