CBS Evening News, citing unnamed sources, reports that the Department of Homeland Security has detained more than 13,000 unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border since Joe Biden’s inauguration. What was becoming a more orderly, if still unruly, border across 2020 is now in crisis — CBS reports, even using that word the Biden administration has avoided, in its video package, which you can watch in the tweet.
CBS News has learned that 13,000+ unaccompanied minors are being held in U.S. custody for an average of 120 hours, far longer than the 72 hours allowed by law.
— Norah O'Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) March 16, 2021
Joe Biden campaigned on undoing President Trump’s border policies. He has done that, and more, to the point that over the weekend the very stretched Department of Homeland Security called for volunteers to help ICE deal with what it was referring to as a “situation” or similar rhetoric.
Now CBS is calling it a “crisis.” In fact, CBS led its newscast Tuesday evening describing the border chaos as a “humanitarian crisis.”
“Sources tell CBS News more than 13,000 migrant children who entered the country without their parents are now in U.S. custody,” CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell reports. “The government says even more adults are being turned back every day, the secretary of Homeland Security admitting today that so many people are now crossing the border, his department is on pace to stop more migrants than in the past 20 years.” O’Donnell emphasized those last two words. She added that with so many migrants flooding the border, the Biden administration is “running out of space to house them, and people to process their claims.”
Biden still has no plans to visit the border. He has announced that he will hold a press conference, his first since the inauguration, on March 25.
The border crisis is one Joe Biden created with his rhetoric during the 2020 campaign and his undoing of the previous administration’s policies, notably the “remain in Mexico” policy and declaring an end to the border wall, once he was in office. Biden has not consulted with Congress or even the border governors, making this crisis very much his own. That humanitarian crisis is “growing more dire by the day,” O’Donnell reports.
The federal government is reportedly planning to house 3,000 unaccompanied children at a convention center in Dallas. The government is also setting up a tent city for another 1,000 in Midland, Texas. That was as of Monday, when the federal government reportedly had about 4,200 children in custody. CBS, citing unnamed sources, reports the real number is triple that.
The new CBS report raises questions. Was the Biden administration intentionally downplaying the true numbers, and if so, why? White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki has refused to discuss specific numbers when asked during daily briefings with the press. What’s the government’s plan now to process this influx of minors, which is much larger than has been acknowledged?
Localities like Del Rio, on the Texas-Mexico border, say they are overwhelmed and the situation is unsustainable for them. Texas leaders including Gov. Gregg Abbott and Reps. August Pfluger (R), Tony Gonzales (R), and Henry Cuellar (D) have called on the Biden administration to do more.
Del Rio and other border towns are dealing with a twin crisis: overwhelming numbers and coronavirus.
Mayor Bruno Lozano said he sent President Joe Biden a video message last month pleading him to stop asylum seekers from arriving in Del Rio.
Lozano went so far as to threaten to issue an emergency order barring them from entering the city at a time when the city saw more than 11 inches of snow.
“My community was managing an environmental crisis, the winter storm that we experienced throughout this entire area,” Lozano said, compounded by the lack of power and water that resulted.
He also said arrivals were not being tested for COVID-19.
According to Lozano, the federal government had sent funds for rapid testing kits, but Del Rio does not have the staffing available to administer the tests.
COVID raises yet another issue. Local governments are being tasked with administering the tests despite lacking manpower to do so. When a migrant tests positive, which has happened at least 185 times according to reports, the locals have no authority to hold them. With DHS so overwhelmed it’s calling on help from the Federal Emergency Management Administration—it is not holding them. These COVID-positive migrants, who have crossed into the country illegally, are being allowed to board a bus and travel to any part of the country, where they may spread the virus. They’re in essence freer to move around than U.S. citizens in locked down states such as California, where the local and county governments in Burbank are attempting to shutter a restaurant for defying lockdown orders so they can make enough income to survive, and where churches are now begging Gov. Gavin Newsom to please allow them to hold indoor services as is their right enshrined in the First Amendment.