The number of unaccompanied minors jumping the United States-Mexico border seeking asylum has risen dramatically over the last several weeks and, according to the Domestic Policy Council, which briefed President Joe Biden on the situation Tuesday, that number is growing and is likely to exceed the record by a shocking 45%.
“Members of the Domestic Policy Council were set to tell President Biden Tuesday that the number of migrant children who cross the southern border this year is on pace to exceed an all-time record — by 45 percent — citing unreleased data from the Department of Homeland Security,” the New York Post reported Wednesday.
“In a presentation made up of nearly 40 slides obtained by Axios, the DPC cites data from DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services to warn that the Biden administration is 20,000 beds short of what it needs to properly house the 117,000 unaccompanied child migrants expected to cross the border this year,” the outlet continued.
Border resources are reportedly stretched thin already. The Biden administration has opened a number of tent facilities and is reportedly looking to reopen a number of shuttered juvenile detention facilities to handle some of the existing overflow, including a controversial Health and Human Services facility in Homestead, Florida, that was the subject of a number of protests, including one by now-Vice President Kamala Harris.
The Washington Post reported last week that other, smaller facilities are already being pressed into use.
“[An] emergency facility — a vestige of the Trump administration that was open for only a month in summer 2019 — is being reactivated to hold up to 700 children ages 13 to 17,” the Post reported. “Government officials say the camp is needed because facilities for migrant children have had to cut capacity by nearly half because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border has been inching up, with January reporting the highest total — more than 5,700 apprehensions — for that month in recent years.”
President Joe Biden made it his first order of business to roll back the Trump administration’s strict immigration curbs as a way of delineating the new Biden administration’s priorities. Biden’s administration, though, is now struggling with the practical consequences of a sudden influx of illegal immigrants.
The White House would not call the situation a “crisis” and stood by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ decision to label the ongoing issue a “challenge” and not a “crisis.”
“Well, I’ll leave that to the Secretary of Homeland Security to define,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in response to a question on the issue, “He said it was a challenge, it is a challenge.
“We have more than 7,000 unaccompanied kids who have come into the United States, and that is certainly a lot of children that we are trying to treat humanely and safely and processed through the system as quickly as we can,” she continued, calling it “not easy.”