In a desperate attempt to contain the unprecedented immigration crisis unfolding on the U.S.-Mexico border, President Joe Biden's administration has imposed dangerous restrictions on journalistic freedom, a core American value that many pundits and media experts consider to be the backbone of democracy.
NBC News reports that the Biden administration has imposed strict limitations on the information federal agencies are permitted to share with journalists attempting to report the truth about the border crisis. Government officials said they viewed the restrictions as an unofficial "gag order" and were unwilling to speak on the record, presumably because they fear for their livelihoods.
The Biden administration has instructed Border Patrol officials to reject all media requests for "ride-alongs" at the southern border and has demanded that all requests for information, even from local media, be sent to Washington, D.C., for approval.
Federal authorities have further trampled on the media's right to report the truth by denying requests from news organizations to take photos inside the government processing facilities straining to accommodate the surge of unaccompanied migrant children.
The Department of Homeland Security released a single photo Tuesday of a mother and her children receiving a health screening but has resisted efforts from journalists to inform the public of the conditions within the overcrowded border facilities. By contrast, the Trump administration allowed journalists to tour the same facilities in 2018.
Officials said the restrictions were communicated verbally, rather than by official memo, presumably to avoid leaving a paper trail and prevent journalists from holding the Biden administration accountable for its dangerous assault on freedom of the press. "This is bad for accountability," wrote Dara Lind, immigration reporter at ProPublica.
NBC News previously reported that the current surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border is a direct result of the Biden administration's immigration policy. Though the administration has been expelling all immigrants who arrive in the United States seeking asylum, children who arrive alone are permitted to stay in the country. In some cases, families turned away at the border have sent the children back over with the knowledge that they will be allowed to stay.
During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Biden assailed Donald Trump for putting "kids in cages" after the children were "ripped from their [parents'] arms and separated." In 2018, then-senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) said Trump's treatment of migrants at the border was a "crime against humanity."