Politico Orders Staff to Quit Referring to Surge in Border Crossings as a 'Crisis' Asylum seekers asking US authorities to allow them to start their migration process in Tijuana, Mexico on March 23, 2021. (Guillermo Arias //AFP via Getty Images)
By Solange Reyner | Thursday, 22 April 2021 04:50 PM
Politico is ordering its staff to quit referring to the surge in border crossings as a crisis, according to an internal letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.
The edict comes after the White House walked back President Joe Biden’s comments referring to “the crisis that ended up on the border with young people.”
"Avoid referring to the present situation as a crisis, although we may quote others using that language while providing context,” Politico deputy production director Maya Parthasarathy wrote in a memo to staff. “While the sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for the Biden administration and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, it does not fit the dictionary definition of a crisis. If using the word 'crisis,' we need to ask of what and to whom."
The Associated Press won’t use the word “crisis,” either, telling reporters in late March to only use “accurate and neutral” terms in reporting on the increase in border crossings and to “avoid hyperbole in calling anything a crisis or an emergency.”
The situation “does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis,” an AP memo says.
The White House won’t use the word “crisis.” Press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said Biden’s use of the term had been misconstrued.
"The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crisis," she said during a press briefing. "He does feel that the crisis in Central America, the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from, that that is a situation we need to spend our time, our effort on, and we need to address it if we’re going to prevent more of an influx of migrants from coming in years to come."
Border crossings in March jumped to its highest level in 15 years, with a record number of children and teenagers arriving without parents and overwhelming the U.S. government’s ability to care for them.
U.S. agents took more than 171,000 migrants into custody last month, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures that contradict the White House’s claims that the Biden administration is facing an influx no different from previous years.
Additionally, border patrol officials logged over 14,000 unaccompanied minors in custody in March. In February alone, 100,000 migrants crossed into the country.