More unaccompanied minors have been captured or have presented themselves at the United States-Mexico border in the first few weeks of March than in all of February, according to a report from CNN based on unofficial Customs and Border Protection numbers.
The number of migrant children detained at the United States border is already on pace to break an all-time record, as The Daily Wire noted last week, but the problem is only gaining steam. According to preliminary U.S. Border Patrol numbers provided to CNN, nearly 11,000 child migrants have crossed the border in March — thousands more than in February, and the month is barely half over.
“The US Border Patrol has detained more than 11,000 unaccompanied migrant children between February 28 to March 20, according to preliminary government data,” the outlet noted, “already eclipsing the number of minors apprehended in the full month of February.”
“In recent weeks, the number of encounters of children crossing the US-Mexico border alone has continued to climb, overwhelming the government’s resources that had already been under strain because of the coronavirus pandemic,” CNN reported Tuesday. “In all of February, Border Patrol apprehended nearly 9,300 unaccompanied children at the US southern border, up from around 5,600 in January.”
The United States is also reportedly on pace to smash detention records. The previous high was in May 2019, when “11,400 unaccompanied children were arrested on the US-Mexico border.” According to recent reports from CBS News and others, the U.S. is holding approximately 15,500 unaccompanied child migrants in border detention facilities run by CBP as well as facilities run by Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The U.S. government on Saturday was housing approximately 15,500 unaccompanied migrant minors, including 5,000 teenagers and children stranded in Border Patrol facilities not designed for long-term custody,” per CBS. “More than 5,000 unaccompanied minors were being held in a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tent holding facility in south Texas and other stations along the border with Mexico. According to the government records, unaccompanied children are spending an average of 136 hours in CBP custody, well beyond the 72-hour limit outlined in U.S. law.”
According to reports of a briefing given to President Joe Biden earlier this month, the Biden administration expects upwards of 20,000 child migrants in United States custody, meaning it is possible the crisis has yet to reach its peak.
CNN is quick to note that unaccompanied minors make up a small minority of border encounters and that adult apprehensions are up significantly as well. “Between February 28 and March 20, Border Patrol apprehended more than 60,000 single adults and more than 32,000 families,” according to unofficial Border Patrol data.
The Biden administration is struggling to find places to house the thousands of child migrants as they try to unite them with family members already in the United States. Border facilities are overwhelmed and, according to photos released on Monday, conditions are rapidly deteriorating for child residents, who appear packed shoulder to shoulder in small rooms.