The child migrant crisis gripping the United States-Mexico border is far from over, according to a scoop from Axios published Monday. The sharp increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the border seeking asylum or the ability to stay in the United States is expected to last at least another seven months, and the Biden administration is projecting that the number of child migrants crossing monthly could go above 25,000.
The Biden administration is already struggling to handle an influx of unaccompanied child migrants, opening additional border detention facilities and begging Department of Homeland Security employees to volunteer for border duty. On Sunday, The Daily Wire reported that the administration has waived FBI background checks for facility employees, temporarily halting a practice that is supposed to protect immigrant minors from falling victim to exploitation and abuse.
Monday, though, Axios reported Customs and Border Protection, which is currently handling the border crisis, believes the numbers are only going to increase, and the overcrowding situation at the border is only going to get worse.
“The Biden administration projects the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border could spiral from more than 16,000 this month to as many as 26,000 in September,” the outlet noted, based on documents leaked to Axios reporters. “The Customs and Border Protection range for September is 22,000 to 26,000. Under any scenario, projections include a peak month that would double the record that stood until this month.”
“To give a sense of how out of hand the crossings are getting,” Axios continued, “the administration projected just a month ago the figure for May would be 13,000. The new estimate is 22,000 to 25,000.”
The bottom line numbers are even more shocking: “Under current policies, the government is facing unheard of numbers of migrant kids illegally crossing the border this fiscal year — from 159,000 to 184,000.”
“Even the low-end estimate is double the total number of kids who tried to cross during the crisis year of 2019. In 2014, the Obama administration struggled to care for just 69,000 kids who crossed illegally,” Axios noted.
The Biden administration appears to be trying to keep evidence of the situation under wraps. Journalists and lawmakers are not allowed to tour border facilities without prior authorization — and so far, just over a dozen federal lawmakers have been allowed inside child migrant facilities in Texas. Of those, one, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, was reportedly asked by a “Biden official” or “political operative” to stop filming and to delete footage that showed child migrants wrapped in silver emergency blankets, packed shoulder to shoulder inside “detention rooms” with plastic walls.
The Biden administration insists that it has not encouraged asylum seekers to send children on the dangerous journey across the border by themselves, but the Biden administration’s policy, allowing unaccompanied minors to remain in-country pending reunification with relatives or parents already in the United States, seems to be motivating the increase, at least in part.
In addition to the danger posed to child migrants once in custody, though, last week, the danger of encouraging unaccompanied minor border crossers came into stark relief when Customs and Border Protection tried and failed to rescue a 9-year-old girl who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande river.