The Biden administration is reportedly allowing detention facilities for migrant children to open at 100% as the border crisis continues to intensify.
The move, which was reportedly approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), scraps the previous guidance that dictated the detention facilities could only be occupied at 50% to practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The fact that the country’s premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis,” Axios reported. “Shelters have been getting an average of 321 children per day — up from 47 per day the first week of January — and expect to need 20,000 beds to accommodate an anticipated record number of child migrants.”
A CDC draft memo says the situation on the border has grown dire and that officials need to be prepared to see an increase in coronavirus cases as a result. “At this time, CBP does not have adequate space for physical distancing, quarantine of persons exposed to COVID-19 or isolation of ill or infected persons,” says the memo reviewed by Axios. “As of March 1, 2021, four CBP sectors are over COVID-adjusted capacity.”
The report, which was published on Friday, came at the same time that the Washington Examiner reported that the Biden administration was considering whether to rename the facilities to help the administration control the public relations side of the crisis that is unfolding on their watch.
“Biden officials are considering naming the facilities ‘reception centers,’ according to three people familiar with the discussions, on the logic that the name sounds less harsh,” the Examiner reported. “The name would distinguish the facilities, one of which has been set up in Carrizo Springs, Texas, from existing structures maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Services’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. Images of one such Border Patrol facility led to criticism that President Donald Trump held children in ‘cages.’ Often, other such buildings are called ‘detention centers’ or ‘holding facilities.'”
One of the officials that the Examiner spoke to said:
These facilities are going up, but they’re being utilized differently. The direction is very clear. Release them as fast as possible. If you can’t receive [migrants] from a Border Patrol station, then release them right there, do it. If that area gets overcrowded, they’re giving instruction to ICE to then bus them further into the interior of the United States.
The crisis on the southern border has escalated to the degree that Democratic lawmakers whose districts are on the border have started to sound the alarm about what is going on.
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) said last week that Biden’s immigration agenda was causing a crisis that will “be catastrophic for our party, for our country, for my region, for my district, in the middle of a pandemic, in an area where we’ve lost over 3,000 people in my small congressional district.”