U.S. Customs and Border Protection released the latest statistics on Wednesday, showing agents encountered nearly 3,500 migrants a day in February 2021 – a 28% increase from January. Cedar Attanasio / AP Hide caption
Cedar Attanasio / AP
Cedar Attanasio / AP
The number of asylum-seeking migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the southwestern border into the United States is growing rapidly and the Biden administration is working hard to find adequate care and housing for thousands of children.
US Customs and Border Protection has released the latest version statistics On Wednesday, agents encountered nearly 3,500 migrants daily in February 2021, a 28% increase from January. Among them, the number of children and families planning to travel to the United States has more than doubled over the same period. The number of unaccompanied minors from Central America also rose by 60% in January to over 9,400.
The recent influx of migrants has increased since April 2020 due to ongoing violence, natural disasters, food insecurity and poverty in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The surge in the number of minors has led CBP to scramble to quickly move children from custody in crude Border Patrol cells to makeshift youth accommodation.
“Our goal is to ensure that CBP continues to be able to transfer unaccompanied children efficiently [Department of Health and Human Services] as soon as possible, in accordance with legal requirements and the best interests of the children, “CBP said in a statement.
However, the administration was unable to keep up with demand. As of Tuesday, 2,800 unaccompanied children were waiting to be placed in shelters, but fewer than 500 beds were available, CNN reported.
The law requires minors entering the country without a parent or guardian to be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services 72 hours after they are arrested by Border Patrol. You will then be placed with a sponsor, who may be a parent or relative who already lives in the United States. However, this process is reportedly taking much longer and creating a serious bottleneck made worse by the housing caps introduced by the coronavirus pandemic. HHS has cut the number of beds for children by nearly half to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The children are now approaching the border because they have not had access to the border for a year after fleeing their home countries in Central America due to Title 42,” said Megan McKenna, a spokeswoman for Kids In Need of Defense, an advocate group for unaccompanied minors, said NPR.
Title 42 was introduced by the Trump administration and allows the government to block access to non-citizens who may have illnesses. The Biden White House has retained the seldom applied law.
McKenna added, “They are looking for a way to seek US protection because they have a right to do so under US law. We are seeing the results of the pent-up demand for access to life-saving protection. The violence they have been driven to The US border has only worsened over the past year. “
To counter a crisis of child imprisonment that challenged Presidents Obama and Trump in 2014 and 2019, the Biden administration announced that it would bring accommodation capacity back to pre-pandemic levels.
On Wednesday, Roberta Jacobson, the White House coordinator for the southern border, said Biden was restarting a youth program that would allow an estimated 3,000 Central American children who have already been approved by the government to join their parents in legal limbo for legal limbo Years after Trump abruptly canceled the Obama-era program.