NEW — The rising number of migrant children taken into custody at the border in recent days has severely strained the US government's ability to house them.

90% of 8,000 shelter beds are full. 1,500 children were apprehended last week. More on @CBSNews:…
The number of unaccompanied migrant children housed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement reached 7,100 today, leaving fewer than 900 empty beds.

More than 300 migrant children were taken into U.S. border custody yesterday.
"We absolutely are concerned," an HHS official told CBS News.

"We are assessing all of our options on the table to make sure we have the capacity to house kids and take care of them and make sure they're not backed up in CBP custody."

That's what advocates are concerned about.
According to data obtained by CBS News, at least 179 migrant children spent more than three days in CBP facilities in January, despite internal policy dictating that all migrants, especially minors, should be released within 72 hours.

That number was 48 in December.
"CBP facilities were designed to process adult men and are fundamentally inappropriate for children to remain in for any amount of time," said Neha Desai of @NCYLnews.

Migrants have dubbed these facilities "hieleras," or freezers, as well as "perreras," or dog kennels.
The reopened influx facility in Carrizo Springs TX was expected to receive 200 migrant teens today.

The refugee office is planning to make 700 additional shelter beds available within the next 3 months, per an HHS official.

The Homestead, FL influx facility could also reopen.
3 shelter officials expressed concern about the dwindling bed space for migrant minors.

One noted the uptick could stem in part from the Trump-era expulsions of unaccompanied kids, saying they created a backlog of minors waiting to enter.

"It created a bubble that is bursting"
While it continues to expel most migrant adults and families under the Trump-era expulsions order, the Biden admin. has stopped expelling unaccompanied children.

An HHS official said the Biden admin. is committed to allowing migrant children to apply for humanitarian refuge.
"It's within their legal right to seek protection," the HHS official said.

"We need to treat these kids how we would want our own kids treated."
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More from @camiloreports

23 Feb
White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledges that the U.S. government’s capacity to house unaccompanied migrant children taken into custody at the border has been “significantly reduced”

We reported last night that 90% of HHS shelter beds are full:…
.@edokeefe notes during the ongoing WH briefing that more migrant children are spending more time in border stations designed to hold adult men.

"We want these kids to be in facilities where they're getting access to health and medical assistance, to education," Psaki said.
Psaki said the Biden administration is working to transfer migrant children "as quickly as possible, not just to stay in HHS facilities either, to get them into families and sponsored homes."

"That is our human and moral objective from this administration."
Read 4 tweets
23 Feb
Due a steady increase in border crossings, 90% of the beds the U.S. refugee agency currently has for unaccompanied migrant children are full.

More than 1,800 children were taken into US border custody in 8 days, according to data obtained by CBS News.…
These graphs illustrate how the situation has changed recently. h/t @becket

7,100 of 7,947 available beds for unaccompanied migrant children are currently occupied.

The number of children housed by the refugee office has steadily increased after falling below 800 last summer. Image
Last month, the US refugee office received more than 4,000 migrant children, compared to the 39 minors it placed in its shelters in May 2020, when the Trump administration was expelling most border-crossers, regardless of their age, under a pandemic-related CDC order. Image
Read 4 tweets
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
11 Feb
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."
Read 4 tweets

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