The number of migrant children being held in U.S. Border Patrol custody has quadrupled in the past week, according to documents obtained by Axios.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 22, 2021
U.S. Border Patrol facilities are only permitted to hold unaccompanied migrant children for 73 hours, but leaked documents reveal that 3,314 children have been held in custody for much longer.
That includes 2,226 held for more than five days, and 823 for more than 10 days. As of Monday, another 185 children had been held in custody for more than 10 days.
The Biden administration told Axios it understands these facilities are no place for children and said it is working to set up better housing. Photos from inside one of these facilities showed thousands of children lying on the concrete floors wrapped in aluminum “space” blankets.
Despite this, the Biden administration continues to deny that the situation at the southern border is a crisis. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas insisted earlier this month that the flood of migrants is just “a challenge” and nothing more.
And President Joe Biden has said he plans to visit the southern border eventually but refused to go into details about when he might visit and what he plans to do while there.
But by all standards, Biden’s border crisis is worse than those experienced under the past administrations. Border officials anticipate 117,000 unaccompanied minors will cross the border in 2021.
That number is higher than the 68,000 taken into custody during the Obama administration’s 2014 surge, which was considered an “actual humanitarian crisis,” and it is higher than the 80,000 taken into custody during the Trump administration’s 2019 surge.
“A crisis is looming, if it’s not already here,” Ron Vitiello, former deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told the Washington Examiner.
“In practical terms, when stations and shelters are not adequate for the detained population or the UACs, you’re in crisis,” Vitiello said. “Thousands a night are pouring in.”