The Biden administration redirected over $2 billion allocated for other health initiatives to care for unaccompanied migrant minors, Politico reported Saturday.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will receive $850 million meant for the federal emergency medical fund depleted by COVID-19 and another $850 million set aside for COVID-19 testing, according to three people familiar with the matter, Politico reported. HHS struggled to open and staff several emergency intake facilities to move over 20,000 migrant children out of border patrol facilities.
“They’ve been in a situation of needing to very rapidly expand capacity, and emergency capacity is much more expensive,” Mark Greenberg, Migration Policy Institute senior fellow and former leader of the Obama administration’s HHS administration for children and families, told Politico. “You can’t just say there’s going to be a waiting list or we’re going to shut off intake. There’s literally not a choice.”
Biden administration officials are investigating reports of unaccompanied migrant minors spending nights on buses outside a federal holding facility in Dallas, Texas, NBC News reported Thursday.
Migrant children are sleeping, eating and using the restroom on buses outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, sometimes for days, according to NBC News.
“This is completely unacceptable,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said, NBC News reported. “We’re quickly investigating this to get to the bottom of what happened, and we’ll work to make sure this never happens again. The safety and well-being of the children is our priority.”
A 15-year-old migrant, Joel, made the journey from Honduras to reunite with his mother and was left on a bus from Saturday until the bus departed on its way to Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday, NBC News reported. His mother, Doris, said an HHS employee told them Joel would arrive Monday despite the bus remaining in Dallas.
Customs and Border Protection has held at least 800 unaccompanied migrant minors in custody for over 10 days, Axios reported
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can legally hold unaccompanied minors for 72 hours, though over 3,300 were in custody over the limit as of Saturday, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security document obtained by Axios. Over 2,200 unaccompanied minors were held for more than five days and around 820 were in custody for over 10 days.
The number of unaccompanied minors in CBP custody for over 10 days has quadrupled in the last week, Axios reported. Only around 180 unaccompanied minors were in CBP custody for over 10 days as of last Monday.
Members of the media will not be able to visit migrant detention centers holding minors near the southern border due to COVID-19, a spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Reporters will not be allowed inside the Carrizo Springs facility for unaccompanied minors that was recently opened under the Biden administration in Texas, a Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (ACF) spokesperson told the DCNF.
A new facility to hold unaccompanied migrant children was opened in Texas this week because the Biden administration is encouraging illegal immigration, a former border official said Wednesday.
The Carrizo Springs facility was not opened to comply with COVID-19 regulations as the Biden administration has said, according to former Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Mark Morgan in an interview with Fox Business.
The Biden administration aims to avoid a humanitarian crisis at the southern border as the number of migrant children seeking asylum increases.
Over 5,700 unaccompanied minors reached the border in January and government shelters are quickly reaching capacity, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shelters for migrant children are operating at 60% capacity to maintain COVID-19 guidelines and were 93% full as of Friday.