More than 800 unaccompanied migrant children have been apprehended in a single day this week, as the number of migrants arriving at the southern border continues to rise with no signs of slowing despite the heat of the summer months.
Health and social services said 834 unaccompanied children and adolescents were apprehended on Thursday, which is significantly higher than the 30-day average of 512.
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This means that there are a total of 2,784 children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody and 14,523 in HHS custody. The Biden administration has focused on transferring children apprehended at the border from CBP to HHS custody and then to sponsors or parents already in the country – often illegally themselves. On Thursday, 612 children were returned from HHS custody to their parents or guardians.
The numbers reflect a continued increase in the southern border and a sign that the border crisis that has plagued the Biden administration is unlikely to end anytime soon. The extreme heat of the summer months has often been a deterrent to making the trip north in recent years, but the numbers have shown no signs of slowing down.
The Biden administration has deported single adults and some migrant families via Title 42 public health protections linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has not deported unaccompanied children or migrant families with young people children.
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More than 188,000 migrants were encountered in June, including increases in UACs and migrant family units. The Associated Press reported this week that the number is expected to rise to over 210,000 by July. That is compared to around 78,000 when President Biden took office in January and around 33,000 meetings in June 2020.
The number of unaccompanied children seen in June increased by 8%, with 15,253 meetings in June against 14,137 in May.
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Republicans blamed the Biden administration’s cancellation of key Trump-era policies for the surge, particularly its refusal to apply Title 42 to UACs, as well as the cancellation of migrant protection protocols (MPP), ending the construction of border walls and considerably narrowing interior execution. They warned not only against the entry of criminals into the country, but also against the potential spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has instead focused on “root causes” like violence, poverty and climate change in Central America. He also touted his ability to quickly transfer children to the custody of CBP and HHS.
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Vice President Kamala Harris, during a visit to Del Rio, Texas in June, said the Department of Homeland Security had made “tremendous progress” and pointed to the faster processing of tens of thousands of migrants arriving every month.
“They have put in place a technology that over the past two months has dramatically speeded up the processing of people arriving at our border,” she said.
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