Jen Psaki Says Biden Administration Providing Migrant Infants Baby Formula amid Shortage Is 'Morally Right'

·2 min read
Jen Psaki
Jen Psaki

Drew Angerer/Getty White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki

The Biden Administration is standing by its decision to support migrant families at the border amid the nationwide baby formula shortage.

On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed recent criticism from Rep. Kat Cammack, Florida Republican lawmaker, and other republicans who have publicly criticized President Joe Biden for providing baby formula to immigrant children.

Psaki pointed out that the actions are in line with the law, citing the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has been followed by every administration. The law stems from a class action lawsuit settled by the U.S. Justice Department under the Bill Clinton administration, in 1997.

As part of a settlement, the federal government is required to provide migrant children with facilities that have "access to toilets and sinks, drinking water and food as appropriate, medical assistance if the minor is in need of emergency services," and other necessities.

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"We also think it's morally the right thing to do," she said during a press briefing. "It is the law. But we believe that when children and babies, or babies I should say, are crossing the border with a family member, that providing them formula is morally right. And so, we certainly support the implementation of it."

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baby formula
baby formula

baby formula

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Retailers nationwide are experiencing a shortage of baby food formula that worsens each day, with new data by Datasembly showing the national out-of-stock rate hit a high of 43 percent for the first week of May.

While the shortages of some formulas first emerged late last year, amid the pandemic, they've worsened in recent months due to challenges with the supply chain, product recalls by some American manufacturers and inflation.

Biden is taking steps to ameliorate effects of the shortage, the White House said Thursday, after Abbott Nutrition, the nation's largest manufacturer of infant formula, recalled products made in a Michigan plant back in late February due to possible contamination of cronobacter and salmonella.

Abbott Nutrition released a statement Friday, outlining steps it has taken since February to "get as much product into the hands of parents as we can."

"We understand the situation is urgent — getting Sturgis up and running will help alleviate this shortage," the company said. "Subject to FDA approval, we could restart the site within two weeks."