Biden Faces Crisis as Waves of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Cross Border into U.S.

unaccompanied minors
AP File Photo: Garnace Burke

The Biden Administration faces a growing crisis as waves of unaccompanied minors cross the U.S.-Mexico Border in increasing numbers. Shelters are filling fast and are now estimated to be 93 percent occupied.

The number of Unaccompanied Alien Children illegally crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. is increasing from month to month, according to reports from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. In January 2021, Border Patrol agents apprehended 5,871 unaccompanied minors. This is up from 4,995 in December 2020 and 3,076 in January 2020.

Under policies put in place by the Trump administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the apprehension of unaccompanied minors fell to only 741 in April 2020. It increased every month from then.

The Wall Street Journal reports shelters for unaccompanied minors are running out of space. Congressional budget cuts slashed housing space for minors by 40 percent. The shelters are now 93 percent full.

Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, told the Journal, “They’ve seen very large growth in a very short period of time. The closer you get to 100% capacity, the harder the system is to manage.”

Health and Human Services officials opened an emergency shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas, to house unaccompanied migrant children, the newspaper reported. The facility will hold up to 700 children.

That capacity will be absorbed quickly, as Border Patrol agents continue to apprehend more of these children. Agents had 700 UACs in custody on Friday. That was up from just 150 on Tuesday, the Journal stated.

The newspaper continues:

Human smugglers working in the region have also been telling would-be migrants to attempt the journey now, saying the new administration would prove more lenient than its predecessor.

The Biden administration has also discontinued the practice of sending children back to Mexico or their home countries if they were traveling with an adult who wasn’t a parent. The change is in line with immigration law, which forbids the government from quickly deporting unaccompanied children—defined as any child not traveling with his or her parent. But the change has sent more children to HHS shelters as well.

The administration appears to be working on finding ways to expand parameters to increase the numbers of who can be released into the U.S.

One idea under consideration is to broaden the definition of a “family member,” the Journal reported. This would allow children traveling with an adult family member who is not a parent to be counted as a family unit and then released into the U.S.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.

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