While it administers 13,100 beds, the US refugee agency said it can't house more than 7,100 migrant children due to coronavirus mitigation protocols.

The agency said Thursday it was currently housing 5,700 minors, leaving less than 1,500 beds available.
Shelters along the U.S.-Mexico border have largely reached maximum capacity in recent days, forcing the refugee agency to fly some migrant children to housing facilities further inland, according to a congressional official briefed on the matter.
A shelter contractor who works with the refugee agency to house unaccompanied children expressed concern about the number of minors being transferred from CBP facilities.

"I see a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf and we just now have the tropical storm force winds on the coast."
A senior DHS official said the department is "absolutely endeavoring" to meet its legal obligation to transfer unaccompanied children into the custody of the refugee agency within 72 hours.

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More from @camiloreports

12 Feb
"I'm very pleased and happy for the families that I have accompanied for almost three years. I've seen their suffering and how desperate they are," Sister Norma Pimentel, who has been helping asylum-seekers stranded in Mexico, told CBS News.
Pimentel said she expects to receive some of the newly admitted asylum-seekers and offer them temporary support and housing at a shelter in McAllen, Texas before they are able to travel to their respective destinations in the U.S.
Taylor Levy, an immigration lawyer who has provided legal advice to migrants stranded in Mexico, said the U.S. government should also offer other asylum-seekers not eligible for the first phase of the Biden administration's plan a chance to have their cases reviewed in the U.S.
Read 4 tweets
12 Feb
New this AM — The US government is set to start allowing some asylum-seekers who were required to wait in Mexico under a Trump-era border program to enter the US so they can complete their immigration proceedings on American soil.
Only migrants with pending active cases under the so-called "Remain-in-Mexico" program will be eligible to be reprocessed by U.S. officials, who are slated to start phase 1 of this initiative next Friday at three ports along the southern border.
All eligible asylum-seekers will need to test negative for the coronavirus while in Mexico before being allowed to enter the U.S.
Read 7 tweets
11 Feb
NEW — The Biden administration is planning to offer humanitarian refuge to more children fleeing violence around the world as part of its overhaul of U.S. refugee policy, according to a government report obtained by @CBSNews.
Arrivals of unaccompanied refugee children, who don't have parents or legal guardians who can care for them, decreased sharply during the Trump administration — and were effectively halted this fiscal year.
During fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017, the US resettled 294, 212 and 243 unaccompanied children.

Arrivals dropped after Mr. Trump took office, reaching 116 in 2018, 156 in 2019 and 101 in 2020.

The US has yet to resettle any of these minors during the current fiscal year.
Read 5 tweets
10 Feb
White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the Biden administration will continue to expel most migrants and asylum-seekers from the US-Mexico border under a Trump-era pandemic policy.

“The vast majority of people will be turned away," she said.
Asylum processing along the border "will not occur immediately," Psaki said.

She said there have been "incredibly narrow and limited circumstances" in which migrants have been released to wait for their court hearings in the US.
Our story from last week on how the Biden administration has, for now, retained the Trump-era border policy of expelling migrants without a court hearing:
Read 5 tweets
2 Feb
.@edokeefe just asked WH press secretary Jen Psaki a series of great questions on immigration:

What is the Biden admin.'s message to would-be migrants in Latin America?

"It is not the time to come" to the US, Psaki said, noting that changes to border policy will take time.
Psaki said the admin. is committed to building a "humane" asylum system, but warned that the journey to the US "remains a dangerous trip."

She demurred when Ed asked about the current CDC-authorized border policy of expelling migrants and asylum-seekers during the pandemic.
"I would just say that continuing to take policy steps to address the plight of migrant families, to do so in a humane and moral way, is a priority of this administration," Psaki said.
Read 4 tweets
2 Feb
New this AM — Pres. Biden will sign three executive orders later today to set up a task force to locate migrant families separated under the Trump admin., reshape US border and asylum policy and review restrictions on legal immigration.

More on @CBSNews:
The task force, to be led by @AliMayorkas, will be charged with identifying all migrant children who were separated—and facilitating their reunification if necessary.

An official said the task force will examine whether separated families could qualify for parole, visas, etc.
Another order will direct a review of the Remain-in-Mexico asylum policy.

One admin, official said the government will look into how the US should continue to process the cases of those asylum-seekers still waiting in Mexico, while prioritizing the most vulnerable.
Read 7 tweets

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