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The US government had 4,276 unaccompanied immigrant children in detention as of Sunday, according to a Department of Homeland Security document obtained by NPR. Children spend an average of 117 hours in detention facilities, which is much longer than the 72 hours permitted by law.
The situation on the southern border is under new scrutiny, as is the Biden administration He charts his next steps After signing a huge coronavirus relief package into law. House Democrats plan to vote on a pair of targeted immigration bills this week that have little hope of passing the Senate, while Republican lawmakers travel to the border and Denouncing the circumstances there.
In a statement released Tuesday, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayuras, acknowledged the delay between the time minors are treated in border guard facilities and when they are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services and their eventual placement with sponsors in the United States, as he made clear what the Department of Homeland Security is. Trying to do to remedy the situation.
“Border guard facilities have become crowded with children and the 72-hour timeframe for transporting children from border guards to HHS is not adhered to,” the statement said. “HHS did not have the capacity to absorb the number of unaccompanied children we are facing.”
Mayuras noted that the “majority” of those arrested at the southern border are in fact unmarried adults, and are being expelled.
The US administration has reiterated in recent weeks that, “The borders are not open, “But it is backing away from the Trump administration’s policy of removing unaccompanied minors. Protecting federal workers and immigrants from the coronavirus is an additional complication.
Children and teenagers who arrive at the border are detained without a parent or legal guardian Warehouse-like detention facilities Run by US Customs and Border Protection. Due to the backlog, minors are stuck in these sometimes prison-like centers rather than more convenient shelters that can contain bunk beds, video games, classrooms, medical facilities, and ball fields.
“We are setting up joint treatment centers so that children can be placed in HHS care as soon as the border patrol comes across them,” Mayurcas said on Tuesday. “We are also identifying and equipping additional facilities for HHS to house unaccompanied children until they can be placed with their families or sponsors. These are short-term solutions to address the surge in the number of unaccompanied children.”
Management is trying Less barriers To reunite children with potential sponsors in the United States as well.
While the issue of unaccompanied minors at the border is one that former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama have also faced at various points, Mayuras said in a statement Tuesday, “We are on our way to meeting more individuals at the southwestern border than we have faced in the past 20 years. “
Mayuras, who was confirmed to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security on February 2, is the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the ministry. He concluded his statement on borders with a personal note:
“I came to this country as a baby, brought by their parents who understood America’s hope and promise. Today, young children reach our borders with the same hope. We can do it.”
Mayuras testifies before the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday.