According to the administration’s own estimates, the number of unaccompanied minors who are apprehended at the border will rise sharply in April compared to March.
The government estimates that by the end of March, they will have taken in 16,000 children. They’re expecting that number to rise to 22,000 in April and 25,000 in May. The 16,000 children taken into custody in March is the highest number since 2010.
As of Thursday, the Biden administration reported more than 18,000 immigrant children in its custody, with roughly 12,500 of them in government child shelters. About another 5,500 are being held in temporary Border Patrol holding facilities waiting to be transferred to shelters.
A senior Border Patrol official told reporters Friday morning that the number of children has continued to rise in recent days and that children were routinely being held in the agency’s stations and tent facilities for an average of about 90 hours but that some had been there for as long as 100 hours. The longest they are allowed to stay by law is 72 hours. The official said children were staying in Border Patrol facilities longer than allowed because the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement doesn’t have enough space to house them all.
The situation has been exacerbated by the lack of qualified sponsors who will care for the children until their immigration cases are heard in court. But with the continuing backlog of kids needing a sponsor, the Biden administration is simply taking a shortcut; they aren’t fully vetting the sponsors before releasing the children to them.
The government is planning to begin next week releasing children before sponsors’ background checks have been completed, the internal documents show. In those instances, according to the documents, child welfare officials will conduct welfare checks after a minor is placed with a sponsor—typically a parent, relative or family friend.
The Obama administration was widely criticized for releasing children too quickly, without properly vetting the adults who will care for them. The Biden team is looking to speed releases despite concerns that the vetting problems could recur, according to people inside the administration, in a sign of their urgent desire to move children out of government care faster.
That “urgent desire” could lead to panic. The danger, of course, is just who the government is releasing these kids to. Child molesters and traffickers? Cartels? The Biden administration had already shorted the vetting process to speed processing the kids out of government custody.
It just shows Biden will do anything to avoid having children overwhelm the border and force him to use the word “crisis” to describe what’s going on.
But kids aren’t Biden’s only problem.
The number of people being taken into custody per day on the southern border has surpassed the number that Border Patrol agents saw at the height of the 2019 crisis during the Trump administration.
Approximately 6,000 adults and children were apprehended by agents across the 1,950-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, a senior official said during a call with reporters Friday. During the busiest months of the 2019 surge, agents were seeing 4,500 people per day.
But don’t worry. It’s not a crisis.
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