Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) created a stir Thursday with her accusation that the Biden administration is sending “pallets” of baby formula to the southern border for children of illegal migrants. She posted a Facebook Live video and used photos to back up her claim. Cammack points to this dilemma as another example of Biden’s America Last policies.
Cammack said she has received text messages and pictures from Border Patrol agents having difficulty finding formula for their own babies. One photo is supposed to be one that was taken Thursday morning at the Ursula Processing Center in Texas. She compared it to a photo of mostly empty shelves in a retail store.
The first photo is from this morning at the Ursula Processing Center at the U.S. border. Shelves and pallets packed with baby formula.
The second is from a shelf right here at home. Formula is scarce.
This is what America last looks like. pic.twitter.com/OO0V99njoy
— Kat Cammack (@Kat_Cammack) May 11, 2022
The problem with the photos is that no one has been able to verify them. In the responses to her tweet, some commented that there are problems with the photos.
The photo on the left is an old Sam’s Club photo. Advantage baby formula (middle shelf) is SC’s brand. Top & bottom applesauce shelves have a “do not take” sign due to a 2016 recall of GoGo’s product
— yellowmoon (@setsurvivor) May 12, 2022
— Teapot Dome was Amateur Hour!🇺🇦 (@HarrenGWarding) May 12, 2022
It’s easy to understand her frustration. The Biden border crisis has far-reaching consequences and this is one of them. Children of illegal migrants are provided with infant formula for their babies. The Biden administration chooses to hold migrants instead of immediately turning them back in many cases and that means the migrants, regardless of age, must be cared for with the basic necessities, which includes food. What are detention facilities workers to do? Let babies go without food? We are living in a shortage economy. This is one of the examples of our current supply chain problems. The demand for baby formula outweighs the supply available to consumers.
As I wrote about yesterday, the Biden administration has acted as though the baby formula crisis wasn’t even on their radar until this week. Biden finally made a public statement (through a spokesperson) about the latest crisis to haunt the administration after he participated in a meeting with retailers. What took so long for him to do that? His apparent lack of urgency about this problem is troubling. Parents are stressed out about trying to feed their babies and no one is addressing their concerns.
The Abbott Nutrition plant in Sturgis, Michigan that produces baby formula for several brands has been shut down for months due to a bacterial contamination that made babies in several states ill. Several babies died. Formula was recalled and the plant closed. There is no word on when it will reopen. In the meantime, baby formula is being flown in from Ireland and the FDA is easing baby formula import rules.
Rep. Kat Cammack is the youngest Republican woman serving in the 117th Congress, according to her website. She served as deputy chief of staff to Rep Ted Yoho, who retired in 2020. She makes a point to say, “It is not the children’s fault at all,” which is true. The babies have to be fed. She is also right to express her frustration with Biden’s policies which have brought us to where we are. Unprecedented numbers of illegal migrants crossing the southern border are being shuffled around by Team Biden instead of keeping in place policies and agreements that were in place in the previous administration. Migrants see Biden’s weakness on the border as an open invitation to come and that is what they are doing.
Texas Governor Abbott weighed in. He released a statement with the National Border Patrol Council. Their criticism is with Biden “turning a blind eye to parents” struggling to cope with a nationwide shortage of baby formula. The needs of the most vulnerable among us, children, must come first.
As parents face the nightmare of a nationwide formula shortage, the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across the southern border.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 12, 2022
Peter Doocy of Fox News reports that the White House didn’t have anyone on the line from Abbott when he was on the call yesterday with retailers. The White House insists they have been working on the problem for months. That is pretty hard to believe. Getting the federal government involved in production of baby formula isn’t what a free market system looks like. The real problem is a White House who is continually caught off-guard when problems develop and then we reach crisis level in short order.
We were told that a Biden administration would provide the return to the adults being in charge. Biden said he was bringing back the professionals in government service. Yet, here we are with another crisis to add to the very long list of failures by this administration. Rep. Cammack’s attempt to shine a light on the problems brought about by illegal migration while pointing out the shortage of baby formula in the supply chain is a legitimate discussion to have. No one in the Biden administration ever seems to be held accountable for any crisis that develops. No doubt talking points are being written for Biden about the baby formula crisis that will blame the previous administration. That’s what Joe Biden does. As I said, the photos haven’t been confirmed but her message is legit.
Update (Ed): Karen’s correct about the need to discuss the formula shortage and the immigration crisis. It’s also true, though, that the federal government doesn’t have a choice in supplying formula for detained illegal immigrants. Glenn Kessler notes that in his fact check today:
The Flores settlement requires the federal government to release rather than detain undocumented immigrant children, first to their parents if possible, to other adult relatives if not, and to licensed programs willing to accept custody if no relatives are available. A 2015 judicial ruling then said the Flores settlement covered all children in immigration officials’ custody, regardless of whether they were apprehended crossing the border alone or with family.
Here’s the relevant section of the settlement, which refers to the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
Note the reference to food: “Whenever the INS takes a minor into custody, it shall expeditiously process the minor and shall provide the minor with a notice of rights, including the right to a bond redetermination hearing if applicable. Following arrest, the INS shall hold minors in facilities that are safe and sanitary and that are consistent with the INS’s concern for the particular vulnerability of minors. Facilities will provide access to toilets and sinks, drinking water and food as appropriate, medical assistance if the minor is in need of emergency services, adequate temperature control and ventilation, adequate supervision to protect minors from others, and contact with family members who were arrested with the minor.”
A 2015 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) document laid out national standards for transport, escort, detention and search processes. These standards are derived from the Flores settlement and a 2008 law that codified elements of Flores, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
Among those standards: “Food must be appropriate for at-risk detainees’ age and capabilities (such as formula and baby food).”
The Trump administration followed this ruling, too. Of course, they also didn’t drop the ball on a supply chain crisis and then a recall on formula, either. The problem here isn’t that DHS is feeding babies at the border, it’s that (a) the policies Biden has implemented incentivized a massive border rush, and (b) their policies and performance helped create a formula crisis, too.