Greater than 500 migrant youngsters have been in Border Patrol custody greater than 10 days
WASHINGTON – More than 500 migrant children have been in border custody for more than 10 days since Thursday, well beyond the three-day legal limit as many border facilities not built to house children have far exceeded their capacity, according to new data received from NBC News.
Many of the children are being held in the Rio Grande Valley, the epicenter of the recent surge in migration, which, according to the data, held more than 4,000 immigrants of all ages as of Thursday in a sector that is slated to house only 715 facilities. The soft tent facility in Donna, Texas, built for the rising numbers in the Rio Grande Valley, held more than 3,300 immigrants on Thursday in a facility that was built to accommodate 250 people. The numbers fluctuate over the course of a day as some adult immigrants are quickly processed and expelled or expelled from the United States
Overcrowding is particularly problematic for children, as the border stations should not accept minors, especially for long periods. During a flood of unaccompanied migrant children during the Trump administration in 2019, children complained about not having enough space to lie down and sleep. The Biden government said children are given three meals a day, regular access to snacks, and occasional free time.
According to NBC News, 4,500 children were in border custody across the southern border on Thursday, up from 4,276 children in border custody on Sunday.
A major reason for overcrowding is the lack of space in facilities of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency responsible for caring for migrant children.
In a call to reporters Thursday, Biden administration officials said they are working to move children from Border Patrol custody to HHS facilities faster.
“We also prioritize that children are safe and that they are released from CBP detention, as we absolutely understand that these are not places where children can live long term and that they need to be in a place that suitable for children. ” A administration official added that HHS was working to open new facilities and to make more space in existing facilities.
The Department of Homeland Security was asked for comment, referring to a recent statement by Minister Alejandro Mayorkas: “As I have said many times before, a border guard is not a place for a child. We are working with HHS to meet the needs of meet unaccompanied children, which is made difficult by the protocols and restrictions required to protect public health and the health of the children themselves. “
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