Child border crossings are surging, straining United States facilities


Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday called the wave of migrants a hard challenge but nothing new.

This comes as the Biden administration has remained under fire for undoing President Trump's immigration policies and putting the US on pace for the highest number of apprehensions at the border in two decades.

"I don't feel that it's a crisis for the city of Brownsville", he told reporters.

The number of migrants being stopped at the US-Mexico border has been rising steadily since last April, and the administration is still rapidly expelling most single adults and families under a public health order issued by former president Trump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But the now allowing teens and children to stay, at least temporarily, and they have been coming in ever larger numbers.

He told a story about finding three young children, under the age of 10, who had crossed the border on their own.

"The Border Patrol facilities have become crowded with children and the 72-hour time-frame for the transfer of children from the Border Patrol to HHS is not always met. HHS has not had the capacity to intake the number of unaccompanied children we have been encountering", the statement says. The agency took in an additional 561 on Monday, twice the recent average, according to a second official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss figures not yet publicly released.

The rise has left Biden in a hard spot.

She then confirmed to that Biden has specifically been shown photographs from inside facilities where unaccompanied children are being held upon arrival. "If we do, we will certainly preview them", Psaki said. "That means something under anybody's standard".

Though there have been previous migrant surges, including under Trump, Republicans in Congress say that Biden's support for new immigration legislation and his decision to allow people to make legal asylum claims have become a magnet for migrants.

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President Biden did not mince words Tuesday in an interview with ABC News set to air in full Wednesday on Good Morning America.

More recently, the State Department's 2019 Country Reports on Terrorism, released in June 2020, also rejected the idea that terrorists are trying to get into the US via Mexico. Mayorkas on Tuesday said it was on pace to hit a 20-year peak.

In his opening statement to the House Homeland Security Committee, Mayorkas reiterated that the department faces a hard situation at the border - but stopped short of calling it a crisis. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged the U.S. was "on pace" to encounter more migrants at the border than at any time in two decades, but said such spikes were "not new", having also occurred in 2019, 2014 and earlier. "That is our job".

Another Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas), credited President Trump with successfully deterring illegal immigrants from entering the country.

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave ground on two Republican points as he acknowledged that the administration may not have adequately notified communities chosen to host facilities for migrant teens and children and that some people were released without being tested for COVID-19, though a new testing policy has been implemented.

President Joe Biden's administration has been racing to speed up the processing of hundreds of youths under 18 who are crossing the southern border alone every day from Central American countries and Mexico. "This crisis was created by the presidential policies of this new administration", he said. "It was actually a foreign policy achievement". But he rejected a Trump-era policy of sending them immediately back to Mexico or other countries.

But Mayorkas criticized the Trump approach, saying, "Sometimes, the tools of deterrence defy values and principles for which we all stand".

The administration was scheduled to begin processing unaccompanied children as early as Wednesday at the Dallas Convention Center, days after establishing a makeshift facility in Midland, Texas. In the Rio Grande Valley Zone 1, an area that did not previously have border infrastructure, CBP experienced a 79 percent decrease in apprehensions and a 26 percent decrease in narcotics seizures after completion of the border wall.