The White House tried to make light Tuesday of The Post’s exposing the secret, nighttime flights that President Biden’s administration is using to ferry unaccompanied migrant kids from the Texas border region — snarking to a reporter they were merely “earlier than you might like.”
During her daily news conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked why three planes were spotted by The Post landing after dark last week in Westchester County, New York, and Jacksonville, Florida.
Psaki improbably disputed the notion that the flights were taking place “in the middle of the night.”
“We are talking about early flights. Earlier than you might like to take a flight,” she joked to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, who had asked the question.
Psaki then launched into the administration’s talking points, repeating earlier assertions that officials have a “legal responsibility to safely care for unaccompanied children until they … can be swiftly unified with a parent or a vetted sponsor.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki joked that the flights bringing migrant children were “earlier than you might like to take a flight.”Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Psaki added that charter planes were also landing “in other parts of the country, as well” but didn’t elaborate or provide any details on how long the program has been underway, how many kids have been transported or the cost to taxpayers.
The Post exclusively reported Monday that as many as 2,000 children and teens may have been carried on at least 21 charter flights that landed in Westchester since Aug. 8.
Two planes carrying underage migrants were seen landing there at 10:49 p.m. Wednesday and 9:52 p.m. Friday.
Migrant children exiting a plane at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, early on Oct. 15, 2021.Christopher Sadowski
The kids piled into buses and some were later seen meeting up with relatives or sponsors in New Jersey or being dropped off at a residential facility on Long Island.
A third plane was also seen landing at the Jacksonville International Airport around 10 p.m. Saturday, after which between 10 and 15 people wearing matching white baseball caps and carrying duffel bags were bused to a juvenile detention center about two hours away.
A Post analysis of online flight-tracking data suggests that around 2,000 of the underage migrants have arrived at the airport outside White Plains on 21 flights since Aug. 8 — with two flights from Houston touching down at 2:13 a.m. and 4:29 a.m. on Aug. 20.
The migrant children boarding buses at Westchester County Airport.Christopher SadowskiThe children arriving at the MercyFirst facility in Syosset, New York.Christopher Sadowski
There is a voluntary curfew on planes landing at or taking off from the airport between midnight and 6:30 a.m. to minimize the impact of noise on the surrounding suburban communities.
On Tuesday, as she did last week, Psaki also tried to minimize the impact of ongoing supply-chain disruptions on Americans, characterizing the crisis as the “tragedy of the treadmill.”
Last week, Psaki said it was “inevitable” that problems would follow the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are not the Postal Service or UPS or FedEx. We cannot guarantee. What we can do is use every lever at the federal government’s disposal to reduce delays,” she added.