Central American families whose asylum claims have been rejected are exploiting Biden administration rules, sending their children alone across the border because unaccompanied minors won’t be turned away.
A person familiar with discussions at the Department of Homeland Security, confirming an NBC News report, said the loophole is putting the children at risk, the Washington Examiner reported.
Last month, 8,000 of the more than 18,000 family units that illegally came across the border were sent back, according to federal data.
In January, the Biden administration chose not to return unaccompanied children from the border as the Trump administration had done.
13,000 children in custody
CBS News reported, citing sources, that more than 13,000 unaccompanied migrant children are now in U.S. custody.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who has refused to call the surge a “crisis,” acknowledged Tuesday that more migrants are crossing the border than at any time in the last 20 years.
He called the the situation “difficult.”
“We are expelling most single adults and families. We are not expelling unaccompanied children,” Mayorkas said in a statement.
The unaccompanied minors are being held an average of 120 hours in Border Patrol facilities, which is far longer than the 72 hours allowed by law, CBS reported.
Reporter Mireya Villarreal spoke to a 10-year-old Honduran boy who was walking alone. The boy said he had traveled to the Texas border without any family.
See the CBS News report:
The Biden administration is restricting the information Border Patrol agents and sector chiefs can share with the media, according to four current and two former Customs and Border Protection officials who spoke with NBC News.
The officials said colleagues refer to the restriction as a “gag order.” NBC News said requests for access to, or photos from, inside overcrowded border processing facilities holding unaccompanied migrant children have been denied.
The network noted that at the height of the Trump administration’s child separation policy in June 2018, officials allowed media to tour facilities where the children were held.
‘Immediately surge to the border
In a Democratic primary debate in September 2019 focused on immigration, Biden said that under the Obama-Biden administration “we didn’t lock people up in cages.”
Biden said that if elected, he would “make sure that we immediately surge to the border all those people who are seeking asylum.”
“They deserve to be heard. That’s who we are. We’re a nation that says if you want to flee, and you’re fleeing opression, you should come.”
He also said he would also reverse a Trump policy that barred domestic abuse as justification for granting asylum.
Asylum seekers must establish that they fear persecution in their home country and prove they would be persecuted on the basis of at least one of five protected grounds: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group.
See Biden’s remarks in the ABC News debate:
In the first Democratic primary debate, Biden says when he’s president, illegal immigrants should “immediately surge to the border” pic.twitter.com/Fq1vCNEN75
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 17, 2021
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