Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.
Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.
The same documents, dated Tuesday, say the shelter system is at 94% occupancy and expected to reach its maximum this month.
President Biden is facing pressure from all sides as migration swells at the southern border — posing one of the first major policy tests for his administration.
Progressives have hit Biden officials over reopening a housing facility for young migrants used briefly during the Trump administration. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and others argue the facilities are inhumane and represent a step backward for the new administration, which has made a point to distance itself from the Trump era on immigration in particular.
Conservatives, meanwhile, say Biden’s approach has encouraged increased migration to the southern border, with former President Trump joining the chorus of critics in a speech on Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Far be it for me to be critical of the new admin, and I'm certainly not "on site" at the border, but...I think it's pretty obvious that this is a big problem, made waaaaay worse by Covid.
The Biden administration is set to release new border numbers this week, figures expected to show a wave of migration crashing down on the southern border in recent weeks -- just as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is urging its staff to volunteer to help with what it admits are "overwhelming" numbers.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is expected to release its February numbers, including apprehensions of migrants at the border, on Wednesday. Two sources familiar with the numbers told Fox News that apprehensions are expected to be around 100,000, up from 78,000 in January.
The numbers are the latest sign that the surge in migrants risks turning into a tidal wave by the time peak migration season hits later this year. In the 2019 border crisis, the height was in May when agents encountered 144,000 migrants. In February that year, apprehensions were at 76,000 and 57,000 in January.
"It’s going to be insane come spring," one CBP source told Fox News.
And the admin is being forced to open more camps, to hold more unaccompanied children at such camps (though they're magically no longer seen as "kids in cages," but instead "children in facilities), all the while downplaying the idea that there is any sort of crisis.
This is all very, very stupid, imo. And it's a consequence of Biden enacting changes without thinking through the immediate consequences of those changes. Or maybe it's a consequence of Biden's handlers doing this...and just not caring about the consequences.
This happens with every administration, as I have noted in the past. Obama was the worst, though Biden is shaping up to surpass him. I believe its because there isn't a "feel-good" solution to the border problem and each party is more interested in using it as a club to beat the other party over the head with rather than attempt any real solution.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the surge of migrant children crossing the Southern border "a humanitarian challenge to all of us" during an interview Sunday morning on ABC News and blamed the Trump administration, said the Biden administration has inherited a "broken system at the border."
Lol. Yeah, I know it's 100% typical for both parties, but the lack of shame always astounds me.
“There have been expectations set outside of, unrelated to, any vaccine doses or requests for them, that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border," Jen Psaki said, accidentally repeating the exact term the White House has taken pains to avoid.
“When you were talking about how to go about diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Mexico, you said 'crisis on the border,'" RealClearPolitics started to ask.
"Challenges on the border," Psaki quickly interjected.
Why not just call it what it is? God, I hate the continued creep of Nineteen Eighty Four...
The Biden administration has awarded an $86 million contract for hotel rooms near the border to hold around 1,200 migrant family members who cross the U.S.-Mexico border, DHS officials confirmed to Axios.
There is a problem at the border, but it is not remotely a "crisis." It's an administrative challenge that could be solved easily with more resources and clear policy — not even ranking with, say, the importance of securing loose nuclear material, much less the ongoing global pandemic, or the truly civilization-threatening crisis of climate change. The mainstream media is in effect collaborating with Republicans to stoke unreasoning xenophobic panic.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas fired most members of the department’s independent advisory council on Friday, a purge that included several allies of former president Donald Trump and veteran officials who served under both parties.
Former Department of Homeland Security officials and advisory board members who worked under Democratic and Republican administrations said they could not remember so many members being dismissed at once, as the general practice of past administrations was to allow appointees to serve out their terms before replacing them.
The council is unpaid and includes leaders from state and local government, law enforcement, the private sector and academia who advise the agency on issues such as immigration, terrorism, crime and national disasters. Members serve one- to three-year terms and meet about four times a year.
The removal of more than 30 board members comes as the Biden administration tries to rid the department of Trump-era policies and practices, especially on immigration, and as it has struggled to shelter and care for an unprecedented number of migrant children and teenagers who have arrived at the southwest border without their parents.
It's an advisory council. Why fire them en masse? Why not just replace them one by one, if you think you can pick better advisors? But hey, at least this doesn't look authoritarian...
The Biden administration for the first time Tuesday allowed journalists inside its main border detention facility for migrant children, revealing a severely overcrowded tent structure where more than 4,000 people, including children and families, were crammed into a space intended for 250 and the youngest were kept in a large play pen with mats on the floor for sleeping.
More than 4,100 people were being housed on the property Tuesday. Most were unaccompanied children processed in tents before being taken to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services and then placed with a family member, relative or sponsor.
The children were being housed by the hundreds in eight “pods” formed by plastic dividers, each about 3,200 square feet (297 square meters) in size. Many of the pods had more than 500 children in them.
On Tuesday, journalists watched children being processed. They went into a small room for lice inspection and a health check. Their hair was hosed down and towels were tossed in a black bin marked “Lice.” The kids — many of whom have made long journeys to get to the border, including stretches on foot — were also checked for scabies, fever and other ailments. No COVID-19 test was administered unless a child showed symptoms.
Nurse practitioners also gave psychological tests, asking children if they had suicidal thoughts. All shoelaces were removed to avoid harm to anyone.
The children were then led down a green turf hall to a large intake room. Those 14 and older are fingerprinted and have their photo taken; younger children did not.
They went to a second intake room where they got notices to appear for immigration court. Border Patrol agents asked them if they had a contact in the U.S. and allowed the child to call that person.
Children were given bracelets with a barcode that shows a history of when they showered and medical conditions.
Yeah, okay. Anyone seriously want to give the Biden Admin kudos for all this? And why no mandatory Covid tests? I don't get that. I thought children were more likely to be asymptomatic carriers. Talk about your "super spreader" events...
Unaccompanied child migrants housed at the San Diego Convention Center have an alarmingly high COVID-19 infections rate – but local teachers will be providing them in-person instruction before their own students.
Hundreds of migrant girls have been housed at the facility as the Biden administration is trying to figure out how to handle a crisis of unaccompanied children flocking to the southern border.
Of more than 700 unaccompanied girls transferred to the center, at least 82 have tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told Fox News Tuesday evening.
A San Diego Unified School District spokeswoman said the teachers were giving up their vacation time to volunteer at the convention center but did not address the concerns about the facility’s coronavirus rate.
And of course, there is no in-person learning for actual students with tax-paying parents in the district.