During a call with reporters this morning, a DHS official confirmed the family reunification task force has not yet reunited any migrant families separated during the Trump administration, saying the task force has been focused on data and information collection / verification.
I asked about parents in Central America already identified by @AlOtroLado_Org@JusticeInMotion@ACLU who remain separated from their children and wish to reunite with them in the US.
The DHS official said the cases are being processed, saying the gov't can't control some steps.
The DHS official says the gov't has requested information for some of these parents, and that some need to secure travel documents.
"Nothing has been frozen in place because we’ve been looking through and checking other files," the official said. "We’re doing it simultaneously.”
New — Border Patrol facilities holding migrant children are "stretched beyond thin," an independent monitor concluded after visiting the sites, saying acute overcrowding has created unsafe conditions for thousands of minors in U.S. custody. cbsnews.com/news/border-pa…
Social distancing was "functionally impossible" in the holding facilities, the monitor said, calling the level of overcrowding "not sustainable."
In one over-capacity facility, there were not enough caregivers for 500 migrant children under the age of 12. cbsnews.com/news/border-pa…
“The open spaces designed for walking, reading, or play are also fully occupied by mats."
“The showers designed for an occupancy of 1,000 are occupied all day, with some children reporting that they did not receive showers for days at a time.” cbsnews.com/news/border-pa…
A Houston church hall converted into a makeshift emergency shelter for migrant children is set to receive 450 teenage girls within the next 24 hours, per an HHS official.
This marks the opening of the 7th emergency HHS housing facility for migrant children in less than 2 months.
This is the second emergency HHS housing facility designed to accommodate migrant girls.
HHS is set to open at least 3 additional emergency housing sites in Texas. Collectively, the 10 emergency facilities will be able to accommodate more than 16,700 migrant children.
The emergency housing sites for migrant children opened under Pres. Biden:
1. Influx facility in Carrizo Springs, TX 2. Camp for oil workers in Midland, TX 3. Dallas convention center 4. San Diego convention center 5. San Antonio expo center 6. Fort Bliss 7. Houston church hall
NEW — Nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children entered U.S. border custody in March, an all-time monthly high that has forced the Biden administration to house migrant teens in convention centers, camps for oil workers and a military post.
The historic number eclipses previous record-high migration flows of Central American teenagers and children that strained the U.S. government's border processing capacity under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Previous monthly high was nearly 12,000 in May 2019.
U.S. agents along the southern border carried out approximately 170,000 total apprehensions in March — a 70% increase from the previous month.
Nearly 100,000 of those taken into custody were single adults, whom U.S. border officials have continued to swiftly expel.
NEW — Migrant children in two emergency HHS housing sites in Texas, a camp for oil workers and a convention center, have limited access to case managers, phone calls to family, recreation and education, attorneys who inspected the facilities told CBS News. cbsnews.com/news/migrant-c…
"Case management is the most important issue because it minimizes the time children are there," lawyer Carlos Holguín. "We understand the government is contending with a difficult situation, but they need to minimize the amount of time the children spend in this type of facility"
"For every child that I spoke to, their first question, their first concern was related to how soon they were going to be released to their family. The kids didn't have an understanding of the sponsor release process," @NCYLnews's Melissa Adamson told CBS News.
New tonight — The Biden administration announced it will issue a rule to protect the DACA program from a court challenge that threatens the legal protections of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. cbsnews.com/news/biden-adm… via @CBSNews
León Rodríguez, who oversaw DACA as USCIS director, said the rule will eliminate "one potentially significant area of challenge" faced by the program.
Judge Andrew Hanen is set to issue a ruling in a lawsuit seeking to have the Obama-era program declared unlawful and terminated.
Judge Hanen concluded in 2018 that the Obama administration should have implemented DACA through the rule-making process and allowed the public to weigh in on the policy before it was enacted.
The new Biden administration rule would be open to public comments.
JUST IN — The Dept. of Homeland Security will be issuing a new regulation concerning the DACA program to comply with President Biden’s instructions to “preserve and fortify” the Obama-era protections for Dreamers, the Justice Department tells a federal court.
The notice was provided to federal judge Andrew Hanen, who is set to rule on the legality of the DACA program.
Texas wants Hanen to declare DACA unlawful and slowly kill the program.
Unlike the Trump administration, the Biden administration is defending DACA in court.
Judge Hanen, who has previously said DACA is likely unlawful, scheduled a hearing on this key case on Tuesday.
New — Pres. Biden says all migrant families should be rapidly expelled under a Trump-era public health edict, but the policy is being enforced inconsistently across the southern border, frustrating advocates and government officials.
UPDATE: U.S. adding 16,000 emergency beds for record-high number of migrant children entering border custody
The Fort Bliss Army base in Texas could house up to 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children, according to a notice to Congress obtained by CBS News. cbsnews.com/news/immigrati…
"On the one hand, it's difficult to see children placed in these facilities," @theYoungCenter's @JenniferNagda told CBS News. "On the other hand, ORR is doing things it has never done before — like opening emergency sites just to get kids out of CBP's law enforcement facilities."
During a call today, Biden officials said the Trump admin delayed actions during the transition that would've increased the capacity to house migrant children.
"When we’re asked why we didn’t stand up the facilities fast enough, it’s because we were not in charge until Jan. 20."
NEW — The U.S. government is undertaking an unprecedented operation to house migrant children, planning to add at least 11,000 emergency beds by repurposing convention centers, camps for oil workers and military bases.
In recent days we've been covering the record-high number of unaccompanied migrant children stuck in Border Patrol custody; the overcrowding they are facing; and the scramble to find shelter beds.
I wanted to share some reporting on the policy some see as the solution. A thread:
Some argue that the Biden admin. should expel unaccompanied migrant children under a Trump-era pandemic policy authorized by the CDC that is currently being used to expel most migrant adults and some families.
Three federal judges have said that practice is likely illegal.
Between March and November 2020, the Trump admin. expelled 15,000 + unaccompanied children without allowing them to request US refuge until a federal judge blocked the policy.
An appeals court lifted that order in January, but the Biden admin. declined to revive the policy. 3/
BREAKING — The number of unaccompanied migrant children in US custody has surpassed 15,000, per data reviewed by @CBSNews.
5,000 are stranded in Border Patrol facilities, where the average detention time has increased to 136 hours, beyond the 3-day limit. cbsnews.com/news/migrant-c…
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also housing nearly 10,500 unaccompanied children in emergency housing facilities and shelters.
HHS is opening a fourth emergency / influx facility at another housing facility for oil workers in Pecos, Texas.
9,400 unaccompanied minors entered US border custody last month.
That number is expected to be eclipsed by the figure for March, as border officials have encountered an average of more than 500 unaccompanied minors per day in the past 21 days, per the data reviewed by CBS News.
"Some of the boys said that conditions were so overcrowded that they had to take turns sleeping on the floor," @NCYLnews's Neha Desai said, citing interviews with nearly a dozen migrant children held at the Customs and Border Protection holding facility in Donna, Texas.
The children interviewed included a young teenager in U.S. custody with her baby and an 8-year-old unaccompanied girl. Some of the children who traveled with older siblings were even younger.
"There was a staggering amount of very young children," Desai said.
The Department of Health and Human Services has reactivated more than 200 beds for migrant children since the CDC allowed shelters to return to pre-pandemic capacity, a Biden admin. official told reporters.
No decisions have yet been made on opening additional influx facilities.
DHS and HHS are also rescinding a 2018 Trump-era agreement that allowed certain information on prospective sponsors of unaccompanied children to be shared with ICE.
Officials said the termination is designed to ensure “family members or sponsors can come forward without fear."
“There will not be any immigration enforcement consequences for a family member or a sponsor who comes forward to be united with an unaccompanied child in our care," one official said on the call with reporters.
The official said the 2018 agreement created a “chilling effect."
Important details that did not make it into our story:
The US refugee office is releasing hundreds of migrant children to sponsors per week and its discharge rate continues to increase — but the number of minors being taken into custody is higher, and growing exponentially. 1/
Citing a "surge in migration," DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urged department employees yesterday to volunteer for a newly activated force that will be deployed to the US-Mexico border to provide "relief" to CBP agents, according to a message obtained by @CBSNews.
"Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border. You have likely seen news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border."
We reported yesterday that more than 3,200 unaccompanied migrant children were stuck in Border Patrol custody and nearly 1,400 had been held beyond the 72-hour legal limit: cbsnews.com/news/migrant-c…