The Biden administration is facing a dramatic increase in unaccompanied children at the border, a sign of how resources have been overwhelmed within months of the new administration.
Axios reports that in the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred an average of 321 minors per day to Health and Human Services (HHS). It’s a dramatic increase from 47 in early January and an average of 203 in early February, the outlet reported.
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While not confirming the figures, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) said in a statement to Fox that it “continues to work aggressively to fulfill its responsibility, by law, to provide shelter to UC referred to its care by the Department. of Homeland “. Security.”
“HHS will continue to use all available options to safely care for the children they refer to us. These options include both short-term and long-term solutions,” the statement said. “In the short term, we can ensure that children do not spend more time than necessary in border patrol facilities by using the influx facilities when additional space is needed immediately. At the same time, ORR is committed to aggressively moving toward the long-term goal of enough state-licensed beds in our network of care providers to reduce the need for influx facilities. “
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it cannot share the specific number of migrants found, outside of the monthly totals, as they are sensitive to law enforcement. He also said that the numbers have increased since April 2020 due to factors including violence, insecurity and famine in Central American countries.
The administration has faced a surge in migrant numbers as it has also worked quickly to end a series of Trump-era border protections and other measures that had been designed to end “pull factors” that attract migrants north.
The Biden administration has canceled the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), completed construction of the border wall, and resumed catch-and-release, whereby migrants are released into the U.S. The Trump administration ended the that practice in 2019.
It has kept Title 42 protections in place, which allow migrants to turn around quickly due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has so far not tried to apply them to unaccompanied children.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Monday that DHS is working to “replace the cruelty” of the Trump administration with “an orderly, humane and safe immigration process.”
“We’re not saying don’t come. We’re saying don’t come now, because we can deliver a safe and orderly process to you as quickly as possible,” he said.
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Republicans and Trump-era officials warned of a surge in migrants at the border and directly blamed Biden.
“It took the new administration only a few weeks to turn this unprecedented achievement into a self-inflicted national security and humanitarian disaster,” former President Donald Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday.
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Meanwhile, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have requested a briefing on the crisis.
“Proper oversight requires that subcommittee members have the opportunity to hear directly from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials, and ask them about the escalation of the crisis and if they have plans to stop the increase, “said the letter to the chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California.
Griff Jenkins of Fox News contributed to this report.