James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:52 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Good afternoon, everyone.

Q Good afternoon.

Q Hello.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hello. Weijia, hello.

Okay, I have a couple things at the top, and then we’ll get going.

So, as you all know, this afternoon, President Biden and the First Lady will host an event to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Def- — Deferred — of the Deferred Action for Child- — Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.

Over the last 12 years, DACA has provided more than 800,000 DREAMers with the ability to work lawfully, pursue an education, open businesses, and contribute their enormous talents to make our communities better and stronger.

While Congress has failed to act on the reforms President Biden pres- — presented on the first day of his presidency, the Biden-Harris administration vigorously defended DACA in court and extended Affordable Care Act coverage to DACA recipients. 

Now, later today, not to — in a couple of — not to — less than an hour — today, President Biden will announce that the Department of Homeland Security will take action designed to help U.S. citizens with noncitizens spouses keep their families together.

This new process will help certain noncitizen spouses and children apply for lawful permanent residency — a status they are already eligible for — without having to leave the country.

Additionally, President Biden will announce that the administration will facilitate the employment visa process for those who have graduated from college and have a high-skilled job offer, including DACA recipients and other DREAMers.

Think about the stability this will bring to so many American families across the country. These measures will help keep American families together and allow more young people to contribute to our economy and our country.

The Biden-Harris administration is committed to taking action, within its authorities, to secure our border and ensure that our immigration system is more fair and more just.

As you all remember, two weeks ago, President Biden announced additional actions to secure our southern border after Congressional Republicans twice — twice — voted against the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades.

And while we are still in the early phase of implementation, encounters in between ports of entry are down and repat- — repatriations are up.

However, we know that only Congress can deliver the additional personnel, resources, and policy changes needed to secure our border. And only Congress can deliver the comprehensive reform of our immigration and asylum laws that is needed to secure our border and make our immigration system work.

We’ll continue to call on lawmakers to do just that.

Next, I also wanted to quickly address the extreme heat wave that we are seeing across the country.

We know that extreme heat can be dangerous, which is — which is especially true for older adults and people with under- — under- — underlying health conditions.

We encourage everyone experiencing extreme temperatures this week to check in on their neighbors, drink plenty of water, and look for cooling centers if needed.

Stay alert, listen to local officials and weather alerts, and visit Heat.gov for more information on how to stay safe.

And finally, this week, Thursday, June 27th, our administration will amplify the President’s and Vice President’s work to lower cost for hardworking Americans. The Cabinet and senior White House officials will travel across the country to discuss the Biden-Harris lowering costs agenda.

From healthcare and housing to gas prices and groceries, we will lay out the full scope of the Biden-Harris lowering costs agenda and new products and speeches, and make clear that congressional Republicans are putting the wealthy and the big corporations first with an agenda to raise costs for har- — hardworking families.

You all should have a full list of events through next Thursday in your inbox. And I know you all will look forward to — to the — to those events across the country.

With that, Jeremy, it has been a long time.

Q Jeremy?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Jeremy — Josh.

Q It has been a long time. (Laughter.) Too long.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It has been too long. I forgot your name. (Laughter.)

Q It’s okay. Two s- —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. No, you know I love you, Josh. It has indeed been a long time. I was thinking about my Jeremy in
the back. So, as I was — anyway, whatever.

Q I’ll take it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Things — things are happening. It’s good to see you.

Q Thing- — with busy times.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s good to see.

Q Good to you see. Two subjects.


Q First, on immigration today. Is the administration confident that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can handle possibly hundreds of thousands of new applications given the current backlog of other immigration applications?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we have always said — and I — I said this at the top — like, the way that we would love to move forward is in a more balance — a balanced approach, obviously, and — and get that bipartisanship from Congress.

The first day of his administration — as I’ve already stated, and I’ve stated this many times — we wanted to see a compre- — comprehensive immigration process, a legislation. That’s what the President put forward. He wanted to see that. Congress never moved.

And when they did decide to move on something — we worked in a bipartisan way — the former President told Republicans in Congress — Republican senators, more specifically — and told them, “Don’t move on this. Don’t move on this because it’s going to hurt me and help Joe Biden.” And we had a bipartisan approach, which would have made the immigration system more fair and tougher. And we didn’t move in that way.

And so, the President has said that he’s going to take actions. He’s going to take actions to secure the border, as he did with the executive order that he signed just about two — two weeks ago or so. And that he also wants to make sure we keep American families together.

So, look, we’re obviously going to hear from the — from the President later today. And we believe that we can get this done. We believe it’s an important part of the President’s, you know, immigration policy. And keeping Amer- — American families together, making sure that we are protecting American families is a priority for this President.

And so, we believe that this could move forward.

Q Gotcha. Secondly, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said he told Secretary of State Blinken, quote, “It’s inconceivable that, in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunition for Israel,” end quote. There was a shipment of bombs paused in early May at the start of the Rafah offensive. But has the administration been withholding weapons and ammunitions for months, like Netanyahu seems to be saying?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just start off by saying that we genuinely do not know what he’s talking about. We just don’t.

A couple of things that I do want to add. And you’re right, there was one particular shipment of munitions that was paused, and you’ve heard us talk about that many times. We continue — we continue to have these constructive conv- — discussions with Is- — Israelis for the release of that particular shipment that I just mentioned, and don’t have any updates on that.

There are no other pauses — none — no other pauses or holds in place. And so, as Secretary Blinken said today, he held — he took some questions from some of your colleagues and — and took — and talked — spoke to the press, obviously — everything else is moving in due process. That is coming from Secretary Blinken. You heard directly from him earlier today.

Q Thanks.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Selina.

Q Thanks, Karine. So, just to confirm —


Q — only the shipment of those 2,000-pound bombs have been withheld?


Q Got it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That’s to confirm, and yes.

Q And when it comes to the new executive actions today on immigration, can you just talk us through why now? Why not earlier?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, and I — and I said this a little bit, and I’ll say it again, which is — and we say this: Our immigration system is broken. It has been for some decades.

The President wants to — to have a comprehensive legislative fix. That’s the process that we actually want to take. And that’s why he did on day one.

And so, look, we want to see a balanced approach. We want to see a bipartisan movement on this.

But Congress has failed to act. They just have. They voted twice on a — on a proposal legislation that they, Republicans and Democrats, came together on to move forward on dealing with what’s happening, the challenges at the border, what’s happening with immigration. Republicans rejected it. They rejected it twice.

And so, announcing these actions to keep families together — you know, we’re talking about American citizens and their families — to keep them together. We’re talking about young people who contribute — they are contributing to the economy. They are contributing to the — to their communities. We want to make sure we keep that talent here.

And so, that is why we’re taking this action. We can do both. We can secure the border, as we did with announcing the executive order, and we can also protect American families. And that’s what the President is going to be — going to be doing — announcing today.

Q And can you just walk us through how the administration decided the contours of this. For instance, it is 10 years, but if someone’s been married for — it’s — you have to be in the country for at least 10 years, but if you’ve —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, at least a decade.

Q — been in the country for just slightly less than that, they would not eventually be eligible. Right?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, yeah, that is correct. Anybody who has — and the — the other added piece of this is anybody who is pres- — wanting — presenting themselves today would not be — would not be eligible as well. And it is a decade. You have to have — be here for at least a decade to be able to be — obviously, to — to take part of this announcement that the President is making.

And — and here’s the thing. The average — the average person who would be eligible for this, we — we are predicting, have been here for about 23 years — 23 years.

Q Just — but what do you say —


Q — to those families, you know, who have a member who’s been here for, like, 9 years and 11 months?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I hear you. I —

Q And so, they’ll never —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I hear you.

Q Will they have a chance, eventually?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the way to actually deal with this is to have a comprehensive immigration legislation, is for Congress to do their jobs and to move forward. And what we have seen is Republicans getting in the way because of what the last President said. And that is the way that we want to see this moving.

We have said — I have said this many times — we want to move — we wanted to move in a balanced approach — a balanced approach. And that’s how we had se- — had seen this process that’s going to be part of this announcement, obviously.

And — but, you know, Congress, it ha- — they have to fix this. In order to actually fix this broken immigration system, Congress has to act. And, you know, we are going to do everything that we can to move forward in a way where we are obviously protecting American families and also dealing with the challenges at the border, trying to fix a broken immigration — or deal with a broken immigration system that’s been broken for decades.

And, you know, this is one process that — one announcement that we’re moving forward with. And, you know, there’s — you know, and the President is always going to look for other ways to deal with this broken immigration system, but honestly, Congress has to act. They have to act.

Go ahead, Weijia.

Q Thanks, Karine. Do you have any details about the timeframe and when people can actually start applying for this program?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, don’t have anything to share on the actual timeline on this. We want to make sure, again, that our border is secure. We want to make sure that we’re — we are — we — you know, we want to make sure that it’s an immigration system that is more fair, more just.

Don’t have anything on the timeline. I’m — I’m sure DHS may have more on that specific question that you have.

Q And then just following up on Selina.


Q Given the amount of time it’s going to take to process the applications, given the fact that it could all be undone if there’s a new administration, am I hearing the reason why the President didn’t do this sooner is because he thought Congress would do it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, here —

Q Is that why?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I’m saying is that, as you know, we worked really hard to protect DACA. We put out a comprehensive immigration system. DACA was part of that. Fixing what’s happening and securing the border, obviously, was part of that. Fixing a — an immigration policy that’s been broken for decades, obviously, was par- — part of that. That’s why it was comprehensive.

The President has been focused on this since day one and worked with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to try to figure out how do we move forward with a policy that’s fair and just. And we believe it is still the way to go — is to do this through Congress, to do this in a legislative way.

And so, the President is always going to — look, and you hear us say this often — the President is going to look for different ways to move forward on dealing with this broken system that we have. We’re always going to find ways.

We — two weeks ago, we made an announcement on — and — and he signed an EO on securing the border. We did that. But we’ve taken more act- — more actions than that before go- — leading up to that EO.

And today we’re making this announcement on protecting American families.

So, look, we would rather see Congress act — that’s what we want to see — and do it in a comprehensive way. They should, you know, take a look at — at the legislation that we put forward on day one or go back to their bipartisan proposal that they put forward.

So, there are ways to do this. And the President said he will always look at different options, and this is — this is one of them.

Q How you respond to Republicans who say —


Q — this particular move is just an election-year stunt?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I’m not here to talk about election year. That’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I’m here to talk about the President’s policy and why he’s doing this, because we have a broken immigration system.

The President did this on his first day when he put forth that comprehensive immigration system.

For about two months or so — coming out of last year, going into early this year — the President worked his team — he directed his team to work with Congress on getting — getting done a bipartisan, you know, proposal to deal with immigration. And we were able to do that. We were able to do that with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and Republicans rejected it. They rejected it because of what they were told by the former President.

That’s politics. That’s putting partisan first, right? That’s partisanship. That’s politics. That is doing something on behalf of someone who is currently a candidate for 2024.

We have been saying since day one we want to figure out how to fix this broken system.

Go ahead, J.J.

Q On the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office just came out with its new numbers. It’s saying that the U.S. budget deficit will be — will reach $1.92 trillion in 2024, up from $1.69 trillion in 2023. Anything you can share in reaction?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as you just sta- — stated to me, J.J., it just came out. So, obviously, I don’t have — I haven’t seen it yet and need to talk to our folks.

A couple of things I do want to say is that this President has a strong agenda and — to reduce the deficit. You hear him talk about this very often, instead of blowing it up again by extending the Trump tax cuts, which would cost $5 trillion — $5 trillion — while the last administration increased the debt by a record $8 trillion and didn’t sign a single law to reduce the — the deficit.

And what we have done, what this President has done: He has signed legislation to reduce the deficit by $1 trillion since taking office. That’s what he’s been able to do.

So, moreover, this budget would lower the deficit another $3 trillion by making the wealth and large corporation pay their fair share; closing tac- — tack loophol- — tax loopholes; cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests.

And it is the opposite of what congressional Republicans are trying to do when they are trying to give tax cuts to billionaires and corporation, which will hurt the middle class, which will hurt the working class.

And so, that is not what the President wants to do. We cannot afford that. And so, the President is going to continue to work to do everything that he can to do the right thing when it comes to lowering the deficit.

Again, I haven’t seen this report, so I can’t say much. But I can speak to what the President has tried to do more broadly.

Go ahead.

Q Thanks, Karine. A question about President — Russian President Putin’s visit to North Korea and his words today about supporting North Korea against the “enemy,” which he identified as the United States. What’s the White House’s response to that?


Q And to what extent are you concerned — or are more concerned now after what he said about what Russia would like to do?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just a couple of things. I — I know that he is in the DPRK today, and then he’s going to go to Hanoi in the nex- — in the upcoming weeks.

My colleague from — my NSC colleague spoke to this just a little bit yesterday. So, you know, deepening cooperation between Russia and the DPRK is a trend that should be of great concern to anyone interested in main- — in maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, upholding the global nonproliferat- — -proliferation regime, abiding by the U.N. Security Council resolutions, and supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their — for their freedom and their independence against Russian’s aggression and their — obviously, Russia’s invasion.

This is something we have been warning about for some time, as DPRK’s provision of weapons to Russia has helped enable Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.

So, we noted that Putin and Xi joint statement last month called for all sides to reaffirm that political and diplomatic means as they — as the only way to resolve issues on the Korean Peninsula. We hope this is a message that Putin will convey to Kim in their discussion.

As we have said before, we don’t believe any country should give Mr. Putin a platform to — to promote the war of aggression that we’re obviously cle- — currently seeing in Ukraine. And Russia, we believe, is blatantly violating the U.N. Charter and working to undermine the internat- — international system.

And so, you know, this is — this is something, obviously, that we’re watching very closely, and we continue to do so.

Q And what about going — flowing the other way? What concerns does the White House have about support that Russia may provide to North Korea?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, that — that is obviously something that we are concerned with as well. It’s — it goes both — both sides, both ways, obviously, with — with Putin. We are seeing — we are seeing this invasion in Ukraine. And so, any — any collaboration in helping Putin do this — Mr. Putin do this is something that we are, again, deeply, deeply concerned about.

Q One follow-up, lastly, on the question of timing for the immigration move today.


Q Can you just give us a sense of —

Q We have an emergency.

Q Yeah, I’m sorry.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, hold on. Did somebody pass out?

Q Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Can we get —

Q Yeah.

(Press briefing pauses.)

(Press briefing resumes.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. Sorry about that. Hopefully, she’s okay.

Q It is stuffy in here. We could use some —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You are —

Q Some sort of air.

Q (Inaudible) heat effect right there.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, yeah. You are correct. It is — it is hot in here.

Q I was just asking a follow-up question. If we’re —


Q — if we’re all okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I think we’re okay. I think we’re okay to move on.

Q Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And does anybody need water?

We’re good? Do you want —

Q Scotch, perhaps. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. That’s a whole another place. Not here.

Q It used to be standard, I think, in this (inaudible).

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh — oh, really? Okay.

Okay. Go ahead. I’m sorry.

Q No, not at all. Thanks for helping.

With regard to the timing of — (medical staff enters press briefing room) — of the President’s decision today.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh. Oh, wait. Hold on one second.

Q Yeah.


Okay. Timing —

Q Yes.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — on immigration.

Q Could you just give us a sense —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The announcement.

Q Yes, exactly. Could you just give us a sense of the discussions that led to doing this? Did —


Q Did — whose idea was it?


Q Why now? I mean —


Q — you’ve already answered why now, but —


Q — just the — how did it come to this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — look, I — I certainly am not going to speak to private discussions that are — are had at the White House. What I can speak to and very much how I answered the question moments ago: Look, the President has always said he wants to do everything that he can to deal with this broken immigration system, this — and immigration policies as well.

You heard us talk about DACA. That’s something that happened back in 2012 when it was Obama-Biden administration and how we — from the beginning of this administration, we’ve tried to protect and fight for DACA, and we continue to do so. Right?

So, there is — there is a history, if you will, about the President wanting to protect American families, wanting to pro- — protect, you know, American citizens, and this is what you see in this announcement, and — and, you know, making sure that, you know, people who have been here — I said, on the average, there’s some folks who’ve been here for 23 years — 23 years. And, you know, when you — separating them is kind of a cruel thing to do. Right?

And these are people who have — who have contributed to our economy, contributed to communities across the country. And this is very different than what we saw from the last administration. The last administration literally separated families — babies from their parents, from their fathers, from their mothers — and it was cruel. We are — in this administration, we are working to get those families reunited.

And so, we want to make sure that we’re securing the border. We want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to do that. And we also want to make sure that we have a fair and just system, and that is something that the President continues to — to live by. And that’s what this announcement is all about today.

Go ahead, M.J.

Q Thanks, Karine. Can you offer an updated readout of Amos Hochstein’s talks in Beirut?


Q And what is the President’s level of concern about there being a serious escalation that erupts between Israel and Lebanon, or does he think we’re already there, you know, at this point?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. So, a couple of things on that. As you know, he is — he’s — Amis is — Amos. Amos. I’m having problems with names today. Amos is in Lebanon today. And — and so, it is important discussions that he is having. And part of those discussions, obviously, is restoring calm along the Blue Line, which remains a top priority for the United States and must be the utmost importance for both Lebanon and Israel. And that’s what you’re seeing, obviously, Amos take part of while he’s in the region.

We have been concerned by the increase in violence, to your question, M.J., including the firing of more than 200 rockets by Hezbollah at Israel this past week. And so, we are going to continue to work hard toward a diplomatic resolution that would allow Israel and Leb- — Lebanese citizens to return to their homes and live in peace and security.

And so, though — that conversation about the Blue Line, obviously, remains a priority — a top priority for us. I don’t have any readout. I know Amos had an opportunity to talk to the press earlier today while he was in Lebanon, but I just don’t have anything beyond that.

Q Does he, the President, think the recent events amount to a serious escalation in this situation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, the President — this — what you’re seeing is the President’s efforts to avoid further escalation. Right? One of the reasons Amos is there.

And I — he met with Israeli officials yesterday, and he’s going to continue in his — in his — during his trip to meet with Leb- — Lebanese government. And so, that’s what he’s doing today.

And so, we’ll continue efforts to secure a deal that would lead to a durable end of — end of the war in Gaza. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make sure we get this hostage deal, working very hard in a diplomatic way. You saw Secretary Blinken in the region just last week. And we want to lower tensions. We believe this hostage deal will play a part in lowering the tensions.

And so, you heard that from the President’s remarks when he — when he laid out what that hostage deal was not too long ago. And so, we do not want to see an escalation.

Q And then just on the stretch of days that the President will be spending at Camp — Camp David. How much of that time will be devoted to debate prep? And just what have you observed the President do in recent days in terms of preparing for the debate? Like, have you seen him, you know, going back to watch previous debates between the President and the former President or anything like that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as it relates to the day prep — debate prep, that is squarely in the camp of the campaign. So, I have to keep that there. And I’m not going to — to speak in details about that.

And so, what I will say is — is that, you know, while the President is — is in — is in — is at Camp David or — and Rehoboth, he certainly will be able to be — to stay up to date on what’s going on, to get updates from — from his senior advisors, from his team.

As we say many times, the President could be president anywhere. We have the infrastructure to do just that.

I don’t have anything specific on how his time is being divided. But I can tell you this, the President is going to continue to stay squarely focused on his duty as President of the United States.

Go ahead, Karen.

Q Thanks, Karine. For today and the policy — the immigration policy. Has the President met with any families that would be impacted, that could benefit from what he’s going to announce today? Has he been moved personally by any stories that then led him to take action?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, that’s a really good question. I don’t have any families, particular- — specifically, American families, who — whose spouse is going to benefit from this. So, don’t have any — any readouts to — to speak of.

Obviously, we have heard — you all have done a really good job of covering scenarios and situations like this: families who have been pulled apart. So, we are, obviously, acutely aware of — of how that can affect — being pulled apart from your family can affect not just a family but also a community. So, we obviously are aware of that.

The President has met DACA recipients, obviously, as well, who, in a different way, have been affected by being DREAMers here. And, obviously, I talked about what they were able to do back in 2012.

And just to be very clear, what we’re talking about is not — is not part of — of DACA. Obviously, we’re doing this around the anniversary of DACA. But it is not — this announcement is not — will not affect — affect DACA recipients.

But that story is the same, right? The story of coming here for a better life and — and searching for the American Dream is very similar. And the President is going to continue to make sure that we fight to protect American families and certainly to keep them together.

Q Will there be an audience today for the remarks, anybody there that —


Q — will be impacted by this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — I — there will be more than 200 people in the audience today. I don’t have a — I don’t have a list of particular people who will be affected by this. If we do, we certainly will share that with all of you, as we normally do. I just don’t have anything at this moment, at this time.

Go ahead, Kelly O.

Q So, as you were indicating, when the President is at Camp David, he’s still president. Do you intend to brief during the time that he is away?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We don’t typically do traditional press briefings when the President is away. So, we do not have a scheduled formal briefing to speak of. But, obviously, we will continue — the press team and with our policy folks — as needed. We’ll continue to hold briefing calls when appropriate to preview upcoming events, upcoming announcement. That is something that we will do. And — and if you — obviously, if you all have any questions, we will be here to answer any of those questions.

Q We would request that you would brief, because it’s working days even if the President is away.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You guys want to continue seeing me?

Q We want to see you, yes.


Q It’s — it’s several days.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) Okay.

Q On the issue of — of immigration. Do you view today’s executive order as sort of a counterweight to the asylum measure that the President signed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You know, I wouldn’t look at it that way. I really wouldn’t.

I think — and this is what I’ve been trying to say while I’ve been up here: It’s — like, this is — you know, this system is broken. More broadly, it is a broken system, right? What we’re — we’re seeing the challenges at the border. We’re seeing immigration policy that has not been revamped for some time.

And the President wants to address that. And we can do — we can, you know, do the EO and deal with the border — border security and secure the border in that way and also make sure that American families are not broken up — right? — make sure that people who have been contributing to our economy, to communities have an opportunity here.

And so, I think all of — we’re trying to really deal with a broad stroke of issues here. And that’s what you’re seeing this President do.

Q And how does he find the balance between wanting to, as you describe it, keep American families together, to select people who’ve been in the country for a longer period of time, and then the — sort of balance the fact that they would get some benefits that other immigrants would not get and have reduced penalties and that kind of thing? How does he make that balance?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, so — say more — say a little bit more.

Q Well, if — without this kind of a program —


Q — people would have to leave the country, they would have a longer period of time for getting a green card, those sorts of things.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, yeah.

Q So, how does he find that balance between something that is giving a benefit to people who, at one point, broke the rules?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, here’s the thing. The eligible population is limited. So, we have to remember that. And individuals who are — who — who arrive now are not eligible, right? So, we did try to give this a scope, if you will.

And then — and we can’t forget, those who are eligible have been here for 23 years — in the U.S. for 23 years. And they are — that spouse, obviously, is married to someone who’s an American citizen. And they probably have children here, some of them — right? — who are American citizens because they were born here.

And so, look, we’re going to continue to take steps to — to crack down on smugglers. Right? We’re going to continue to stay — take — take steps to secure the border, you know? And so, that is something that we’re certainly going to focus on.

But I think to your — I think to answer the — the question in a more broader sense, the immigration system is broken. It is broken. It has been broken for decades — for decades. The President, on day one, wanted to get ahead of that — or try to fix that, move that forward by putting forth a [solution to the] broken immigration system.

The announcement today does not take away from the fact that the immigration system is broken. And it does not take away from the fact that Congress needs to act. And we want to see a balanced approach. We want to see a bipartisan approach to this.

And they can. They can do it. They can certainly do that.

Go ahead.

Q Following up on immigration. When you were asked about timing earlier —


Q — you were mentioning the President prefers to work with Congress.


Q But why not earlier this year, for example, or — or late last year? I know, the bipartisan Senate bill was being worked on, but that didn’t include parole in place for spouses or anything for DACA recipients.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, I mean, look —

Q So, it seems different —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No. No, I — no, I hear you.

Q — two different tracks. Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, there’s been many phases of this, obviously. There was, first, the comprehensive immigration proposal legislation that the President introduced day one. Right?

Q Right.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And then he took — he’s taken actions — right? — from that moment, until the bipartisan discussion was happening in Senate. Like, he’s taken multiple actions, right?

And then we had an opportunity late last year, early this year to do that in a more balanced approach — right? — to do that in the Senate with both Republicans and Democrats. So, the Pre- — the President took that opportunity and directed his team to have those conversations.

And we believe that that time — what the proposal that was being put forward was going to be fair — tough, but fair.

And — and I would say, since then — since it was rejected by Republicans twice, the President has looked at every option. We say that. We say — we say that many, many times. We look at all options. And we tried to figure out how we could move forward with these different — different options and different ways.

And, look, with the — with the EO to — for — to secure the border, this is something that a majority of Americans wanted to see, right?

Q Right. No, right. I understand that.


Q But the — the Senate bill —


Q — seems separate than what’s being announced today.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, and I’m agreeing with you. But —

Q So, like, I’m under- — I’m trying to understand the impetus and why now —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. No, but I — but I’m —

Q — for the actions today.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But I’m agreeing with you. There’s been many iterations of different ways to move forward in dealing with a broken immigration system. The first one was a comprehensive plan that the President himself put forward.

And then he took actions, right? He took other actions between then, that moment, until we got to the — until we got to the Senate and their bipartisan proposal.

And that was different. You’re right. It is very different than what you’re seeing here.

The President has always said — remember, he’s taken executive actions before. He took one very recently. And he’s looking at every way to figure out how we can have policy that’s also fair.

We’ve always said that our immigration policy needs to be fair and just. We’ve always said that. And we’ve taken different approaches. We’ve taken different action.

This is the announcement for today.

Q Is it fair to say he wanted to sign the executive order on the border before doing something like this —


Q — for those?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, I’m not going to get into — into that.

I think we know — right? — for some time that what we’re seeing at the border is dynamic. We saw that — right? — that they were — what — that it was important to deal with the challenges at the border. So, the President acted on that.

And we’ve always said — we’ve always said that we need an immigration policy that’s more just, that’s more fair.

I mean, let’s not forget, this is a president that was part of the DACA — right? — DREAMers getting a shot here and being able to stay and get work permits. That happened in 2012. So, there’s nothing unusual, I think, of where we are today than where the President has stood for some time, more than a decade.

And so, I think this is all part of that. This is all part of building on actions that he has taken.

He would love to see a comprehensive congressional approach. We still need that. We still need legislation. And so, he’ll continue to work on that.

Go ahead, Michael.

Q Thanks, Karine. Sticking with immigration.


Q This order is almost certainly going to be challenged in court. So, I’m just wondering how confident you are that you’re on solid legal footing with this? How confident are you that this can withstand a court challenge?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we believe that this approach, this announcement that we’re taking today is squarely within our legal authorities. That’s what we believe.

Go ahead.

Q I have one on immigration, but I wanted to address the — the heat and the wildfires out West.


Q How closely is the White House watching those — those wildfires? And is there any concern about the sort of early start to wildfire —


Q — wildfire season?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And I appreciate the question, because I think it’s really important. The President and his team are obviously closely monitoring the wildfires in California and also in New Mexico. And he has directed his team to — to do everything that they can to support state and local efforts to contain and — and suppress the fire.

Today, FEMA approved two fire management assistance grants for the South Fork Fire and the Salt Fire in New Mexico. The U.S. Forest — Forest Service is on the ground right now working directly with their state and local counterparts to fight the blaze.

We — as we do any- — anytime that we’re seeing these wildfli- — -fires, we certainly urge residents in the area to listen to local officials and heed evacuation warnings and orders. It is imperative and — and critical that they do that.

Q And then a —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And then I know you had a second question.

Q Yeah. On — on immigration.


Q I just wanted to — I mean, you — you keep referring to Congress’s duty to act —


Q — and the broken immigration system. Does the White House feel that the —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: But it’s true. I keep referring to it because it’s —

Q Understandable.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — it’s true. It’s true.

Q But does — does the White House feel that it has exha- — that — that President Biden has exhausted everything that he can do on this matter —


Q — by executive order?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. I mean, but, look, you see the President making announcement — he’s going to make announcement today. He took an executive action a couple of weeks ago. We continue to say we’re going to look to see what else we can do. And this is what he’s, you know, directed his team to do — right? — is to look at ways that we can deal with this — with this broken immigration system.

But this is piecemeal, right? I mean, this announcement is important. It’s going to be important and critically important to American families and their communities. It’s — it’s really important.

But as I keep saying, in order to actually deal with this issue, we have to do it in a comprehensive way. The President is going to do everything that he can. And, you know, it is — I — I mean, it is imperative for Congress to do their job and to fix the system that has been broken for decades and, you know, not listen to the former President, who’s about their own political aspirations. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

We’re talking about dealing with a system that has been broken and moving forward in a way that helps Americans — American citizens and their families.

Go ahead.

Q Thank you, Karine. Back — going back to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s —


Q — comments earlier. He made this pretty blistering statement in English, posted it to social media for consumption by American English-language media not long after his War Cabinet collapsed or he had to pull down his — his War Cabinet. And you just said that you have no idea what he’s talking about and that only this one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs has been paused by the President.

Is the Prime Minister lying? Is he making things up for political effect?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You would have to — I can’t speak to his political strategy, effects. That’s not something that I can speak to.

I can — I was asked a question; I answered it. I don’t know what he’s talking about. We were very clear about there being one — one shipment that we’re having — continuing to have construction conversations with Israel about. Nothing else has been paused. You heard that directly from Secretary Blinken.

I can’t — I can’t speak for the Prime Minister. He’s clearly speaking for himself.

I’m speaking on behalf of this administration. I’m speaking on behalf of this President. I just don’t have anything to add.

Q So —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I can’t — I can’t speak to his political strategy. That is not something for me to analyze —

Q Understood.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — to do punditry from this podium.

Q Understood. So, just — just to confirm —


Q — anything other than the aforementioned shipment of 2,000-pound bombs, categorically untrue that it’s been paused (inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I already answered this question. And — and categorically untrue. There is one shipment — one shipment.

All right. Go ahead, Anita.

Q Thank you. I have a question about the Resolve Tibet Act and then another on marriage. Starting with the Resolve Tibet Act: China is warning that if the President signs it, there will be, quote, “resolute measures,” end quote, against the U.S. They’re also protesting U.S. delegations, like Nancy Pelosi, who are going to India to meet with the Dalai Lama.

So, what is the White House’s response to these threats from China? And does the President plan to sign this?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the President is going to do what he thinks is best on behalf of the American people. That’s what I can tell you.

Q Is that a yes or a no?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I — he’s going to do what he thinks is best on behalf of the American people. I’m not going to get ahead of the President.

Q Cool. All right. On marriage. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s hot, but you’re cool.

Q Sure. (Laughter.) Cool.

On marriage. So, regarding this EO, in many states in the United States, such as my home state of Texas —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, marriage — the — yeah, okay.

Q — you have to present a stack of documents — for example, a driving license, a certified copy of a birth certificate, passport or military identification card, and Social Security cards — in order to get a marriage license.


Q This — I just wonder if this puts some of these applicants in this Kafkaesque situation where they haven’t applied for this, they may have an informal marriage or a common-law marriage, and — and would that make them ineligible for this executive order? Do you accept things, like, for example, the declar- —


Q — the declaration of informal marriage form from states? Or is that —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I appreciate — this is a process question. I appreciate the question. You’re going to have to go to DHS to get specifics on that. I — I won’t get into details of this. But that is something that the Department of Hous- —

Q But is — is the White House concerned that, you know, asking for what amounts to paperwork, legal paperwork, for people who are undocumented and have a lack of paperwork in many critical ways might — might put them in a binding position?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, I — here — I think the bottom line here is — and something to remember — that there are American families, there are people who have been here for 23 years who is mar- — who are married to American citizens and who have contributed into these communities, whether it’s the economy or, as I said, in communities. And we want to protect American citizens, American families and not separate them. And this is an opportunity to do that.

And as far as, like, what this is going to look like, what are the rules, what’s the process — that is something DHS can obviously speak to more.

But if you look at this in a more broad stroke, this is an important announcement — this is — as we’re dealing with a immi- — immigration policy that is broken, that is arcane, that has not been updated in some time.

The President is doing everything that he can within his power to deal with this — with this situation.

And, look, I’m going to be a broken record, but it is important as we’re — as I’m — as I’m trying to make my point here: Congress needs to act to actually have a comprehensive answer here, to deal with this system.

You would not be an- — asking me this specific question if Congress did not — would do their job — right? — if they would actually take action and do their job. And so, I think what’s important is this is an in- — this is a — this announcement is going to matter. It is going to matter to American citizens who are here and — and have a spouse, who have been here for more than a decade, participated in the economy, participated in their community. And I think that’s important.

Q Can I ask the last cricket question I promise I will ever ask? Did the President call the U.S. team after they beat Pakistan? And if, by some wonderful turn of events, they do win the tournament, will he be inviting them to the White House?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What’s the interest in the cricket team? (Laughter.) No, it’s great, but I’m just —

Q Are — are you serious? Because I can answer that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, yeah, no, I’m serious.

Q Okay. So, there are 5 million people of subcontinental origin in the United States. Add to that 13 million people of West Indian origin in the United States. You may see us everywhere —


Q — but in terms of sports icons, we’re thin on the ground.


Q To see them with the word “USA” on their chests —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That’s pretty dope.

Q — beating the British at their own game —


Q Super satisfying. (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Now, that’s cool. Now, that’s cool.

Q Yeah, it’s a decolonization metaphor wrapped in sports.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That’s cool.

So, like we said yesterday, we certainly congratulate the U.S. cricket team. Obviously, what they have been able to accomplish is meaningful to many people, like yourself. And —

Q Eighteen million of us.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: And — well, yeah. Eight- — you know, 18 million of you all, which I think is incredibly important. Representation matters. You hear us say that all the time.

As it relates to a call from the President, don’t have anything to share at this time.

But it — we are — certainly, we congratulate them. It is a big deal. It is indeed very, very cool. And we are very proud and excited for them.

Go ahead, Gerren.

Q Thanks, Karine. Two questions.

First, the Fearless Fund, a venture capital firm that awards grants to Black women-owned businesses, had a federal appeals court suspend their grant program due to the claim that it discriminates against white businesses. The co-founder is calling on President Biden to take executive action to, quote, “safeguard DEI initiatives and funding rights for marginalized groups.”

Similarly, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to the President today asking for him to — given these collective c- — asking to promote, protect, and expand programs that lead to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Given these concerns, does the White House believe it is doing all it can to protect diversity, equity, inclusion?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. So, I’m going to be really mindful here. It’s an ongoing litigation, so I don’t want to speak to it directly. And, you know, I don’t have any news to make, obviously, on any executive action.

But this is kind of, you know, in line to what I was just saying to Anita about how important for representation and how that matters. And the President always says, diversity is one of our greatest strengths here in this country. It kind of, really, goes in line with many of the themes of today, when we talk about immigration, when we talk about keeping talent and — and strengthening our community. It’s all — it’s all in line.

And so, what I will say more broadly is, under this administration, we’re achieving the fastest creation of Black-owned business than we’ve seen in 25 years. I think it’s about 18 million new applications in small business since this administration started. I think that’s important. And to have — to have an increase and an uptick in Black-owned business is — out of that 18 million — is actually pretty critical.

The President also signed an executive order to advance diversity and accessibility within — with — within his first six months in office.

This administration is going to keep providing economic mobility for all Americans, including — including, obviously, you know, the talent — and the talent that we see in Black communities, including women and women-owned businesses and how they contribute to our economy.

And so, that’s something that we take very seriously here in this administration. SBA takes very seriously, obviously, in the work that they have done.

And, you know, diversity is certainly one of our greatest strength, which is something that the President says over and over again.

Q Has the White House been in contact with the Fearless Fund at all?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: It’s — if we have been in contact with the Fearless Fund, I don’t have any calls or meetings to speak to.

And we — we’re just going to be super mindful. As I just stated at the top in answering your question, this is an ongoing lit- — litigation. So, we want to be super careful here.

Q And just one other question.


Q Given the President’s actions on marijuana reform, does the White House have a response to Maryland Governor Wes Moore pardoning 175,000 marijuana convictions, which has been hailed as a major racial justice effort?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we certainly welcome the news. And it builds on the President’s work to reform how nations approaches marijuana. And the President has said — he called, you know, for governors to — to do their part and to take action. So, this is welcomed, as I just stated.

And, you know, in addition to rescheduling — the process to reschedule marijuana, the President has been clear that no one — no one should be in jail just for possessing marijuana. And he has a record number of pardons for prior federal offenses of simple possession and use of marijuana. And he has con- — will continue to urge all governors to do the same.

And so, we see that in Maryland. We saw that in Massachusetts. We saw that in Oregon. And so, he commends and welcomes, certainly, this news.

Go ahead, Aurelia.

AIDE: Karine, you have time for one more.

Q On heat waves. Climate experts —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sorry — sorry, can you start from the beginning. I’m sorry.

Q Yeah, on heat waves.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, yeah.

Q According to climate experts, to advocacy groups, these heat waves are going to become more frequent, last longer, start earlier. Is the federal response and relief system adequately equipped to deal with this threat?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, we’re — we are doing everything that we can to — to do — to deal with what we’re seeing: the heat wave. And you’ve heard us talk about climate change, and the President has taken, certainly, strong actions — pro- — progressive actions to deal with climate change. You see that in the Inflation Reduction Act, which is the biggest — biggest legislation to actually deal with climate change.

But the President is going to continue to work — to work in lowering cool- — cooling costs — I think that’s important — and keep Americans safe from extreme temperatures.

A couple things that I just want to lay out.

HHS launched a nationwide effort to help local officials identify communities most vulnerable to extreme heat and target resources to those communities.

The Department of Labor is all — is using all of its existing tools to protect workers from extreme heat. Since 2022, they have conducted over 5,000 federal heat-related inspections.

And we have provided billions of dollars to cities nationwide to help build resilience against climate impacts, like heat wave, including by expanding access to cooling systems for public housing residents.

This is why the Inflation Reduction Act, which, by the way only Democrats voted for — for it, was so critical and so important in providing those types of resources as well.

I think I have to — go ahead, Jared. And then I have to wrap it up.

Q I just have a follow-up to something that came up yesterday when you were asked about the President making comments about potential Supreme Court nominations. I was just curious —


Q — unrelated to the campaign, how far along is the President kind of thinking about who he’d want to nominate in the event that he has more nominations?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: (Laughs.) Wow. That’s a — that’s way into the future.

Q I mean, he brought it up in the fun- — he brought it up sort of in the campaign. But it —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, yeah.

Q Is that something he’s thinking about?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, you — as you said, you heard directly from the President. He brought it up in — in a campaign stop, obviously, this weekend in — in Los Angeles.

I don’t have anything more on the President’s thinking or a list for you all at this time.

But, I guess, what I like to say is: Stay tuned. Stay tuned.

All right, everybody. Thank you so much.

Q Thanks.

2:44 P.M. EDT

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