Record High Number of Migrant Children in Border Patrol Custody
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A record number of 3,200 migrant children were stuck in Border Control facilities as of March 8, almost doubling since the previous week.
Many of these children are being held past the three-day limit, in facilities akin to jail cells, that are not meant for small kids. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a legal obligation to move the children to safe shelters operated by the U.S. refugee agency within 72 hours of taking them into custody.
Currently, 1,400 children have been in CBP custody longer than the 72-hour limit.
Less than a week ago, 1,700 children were in CBP custody. Of the current 3,200 children, 2,600 are waiting to be moved to suitable homes, but there are only 500 beds available. Also, 170 of the unaccompanied minors are under the age of 13.
There has been a recent increase in the number of unaccompanied minors traveling to the U.S. Possible factors of the uptick include: the pandemic, warmer weather and the thought that the Biden administration will not be as strict as the previous Trump administration.
More unaccompanied minors are expected to come to the U.S. in the coming weeks as the weather continues to get warmer.
The Department of Health and Human Services told CNN how they expect to keep up with the increase of children crossing in the next few weeks.
HHS said that the Office of Refugee Resettlement “is aggressively working with our interagency partners to ensure that unaccompanied migrant children are safe and unified with family members or other suitable sponsors as quickly and safely as possible.”
“The number of unaccompanied children (UC) in our care is constantly changing,” the department told CNN.