Biden Homeland Security officials have muzzled spokespersons and top officials at the Customs and Border Protection agency from speaking with the media about the situation on the border, according to two CBP officials.
The silencing comes after a relative openness under the Trump administration, when the White House focused its messaging on immigration and encouraged agency officials to talk.
New orders not to veer from approved messaging and statements are limiting CBP communications about the influx of migrants at the southern border. The agency oversees the Border Patrol, as well as officers who work at land crossings.
Both senior CBP employees told the Washington Examiner that requests to tour the border are being denied, in part, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the “ride-alongs” to see new border wall projects and arrests of people who have been caught by the Border Patrol had continued, albeit to a smaller extent, through late 2020, including an October visit with CBP officials in all four southern border states.
Officials have been placed under a sort of “gag order,” and they said they were told verbally not to communicate with media beyond statements approved from the top, the officials said.
Media tours inside Border Patrol facilities are rare but occasionally facilitated. The Washington Examiner joined a handful of other outlets during a tour of the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, in June 2018 as children and parents were being separated under former President Donald Trump’s implementation of the “zero tolerance policy.”
Read more at Washington Examiner