March 25, 2023

By Rob Crilly, senior US political reporter and Nikki Schwab, US senior political reporter

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday defended the government’s track record of border security and its efforts to prevent illegal drugs from entering the country from Mexico.

It came as she pushed for warnings that brightly colored ‘rainbow fentanyl’ was being brought in to target children and younger users.

“The fact that we are securing the border, the fact that we are bringing in record levels of funding from… [the Department of Homeland Security] so that they can prevent illegal drugs from entering the country, the fact that we are not only dealing with drug traffickers, but also that we are stopping financiers…” Jean-Pierre said.

“This is what is happening under this government.”

A day earlier, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned Americans to watch out for an “emerging trend of colorful fentanyl.”

“Rainbow fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder in a variety of bright colors, shapes and sizes — is a conscious effort by drug traffickers to encourage addiction among children and young adults,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.

“The men and women of the DEA are working relentlessly to stop the rainbow fentanyl trade and defeat the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of fentanyl trafficked in the United States.”

Drug Enforcement Administration warned Tuesday that candy-colored ‘rainbow fentanyl’ arriving from Mexico was being used by cartels to attack American children

migrants traveling without adults are treated by a border patrol officer after being smuggled across the Rio Grande River to Roma, Texas

Jean-Pierre said the administration had an impact.

“I’ll say we’ve seen a 200% increase in fentanyl seizures, which means we’re making an effort to catch drug traffickers,” she said.

She was responding to questions from Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy, who had a spiky back-and-forth with her Monday about immigration.

Doocy asked Jean-Pierre why unvaccinated migrants can come and stay in the US, while Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is not allowed to play in the United States due to his unvaccinated status.

‘It’s not that simple,’ said Jean-Pierre. ‘It’s not just people crossing the border. We have a plan ready. This is not the same as turning on the lights. This is going to take a process. We’re repairing a broken system left behind by the previous government.’

Jean-Pierre said of Djokovic that she was “not able to discuss individual visa matters for privacy reasons.”

“The US government also does not comment on medical information from individual travelers,” she added.

Djokovic will not participate in the US Open this week because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic will not be able to play in the US Open this week due to the fact that he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19

A group of migrants is helped over a wire fence in Eagle Pass, Texas, by a member of the Texas National Guard earlier this month.

There remains a policy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that prohibits unvaccinated foreigners from entering the United States.

“They’re two different things,” Jean-Pierre also said, pushing Doocy back in an attempt to compare migrants and Djokovic like apples to apples.

He mocked when she said migrants did not enter the US

“Thousands of people come in every day,” the Fox News White House correspondent said. “Some turn themselves around, others – tens of thousands a week don’t.”

She then articulated some of the things the Biden administration has put in place to reduce illegal immigration.

“And when it comes to the tennis star, it’s completely different,” said Jean-Pierre. ‘That’s a different process. That’s the US Open he’s a part of. And there are CDC, federal guidelines that he must follow.”

Jean-Pierre tried to argue that the CDC also bans unvaccinated migrants from entering the country.

“There is a CDC facility for people coming over the southern border. It’s not just for tennis players,” she said.