Facilities for migrant children coming to Arizona, officials say

Tanya Simon
March 17, 2021

The agency took in an additional 561 on Monday, twice the recent average. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss figures not yet publicly released.

Still, officials say they are having difficulty housing those minors as they go through the process.

"The situation at the southwest border is hard", Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas conceded on Tuesday in his most extensive remarks on the subject to date.

Mr Mayorkas acknowledged the U.S. was "on pace" to encounter more migrants at the border than at any time in two decades, but said such spikes were "not new", having also occurred in 2019, 2014 and earlier. "That is our job".

After dropping during the start of the pandemic, the number of migrants caught while crossing the border began to rise in April.

Border Patrol will have tohold children for longer periods because the Health and Human Services Department has long since run out of space.

His testimony comes a day after eight people were killed and one person was wounded in Atlanta-area shootings and in the wake of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol that officials believe was a coordinated attack.

The restrictions have been passed down verbally and are viewed as an unofficial gag order, four current and two former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told NBC.

It has enlisted the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up new temporary facilities to house migrant children in Texas and Arizona.

He also listed improvements under Trump in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. A makeshift holding center in Midland, Texas, that opened last weekend for 700 children had 485 on Monday.

"The system was gutted, facilities were closed, and they cruelly expelled young children into the hands of traffickers", Mayorkas said on Tuesday.

Mayorkas noted that 80% of the children, most of whom are from the three Northern Triangle countries of Central America, have a relative in the US and 40% have a parent.

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Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge arrives at the Binnenhof for the weekly Council of Ministers meeting in The Hague on March 5. Both AstraZeneca and Oxford have said there is no link between their vaccine and blood clotting.

Administration officials have acknowledged their messaging is being countered by people smugglers and human traffickers who profit from the risky illegal journeys.

Several Republicans argued that Biden's rescinding of the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy was a mistake.

The Biden administration continues to expel most single adults and people travelling in families.

"The sad part about all of this is it didn't have to happen".

In a statement announcing the letter, Shelby said they aimed to bring attention to 'President Joe Biden's suspension of border wall funding and construction without lawful justification, as required by the Impoundment Control Act'.

"They're all coming across the border, they're coming fast, and they're wearing Biden T-shirts", he said. Yeah, well here's the deal.

Trump, however, also confronted a similar surge in 2019 even as it rushed to expand the border wall system along the border and forced people seeking asylum to do so in Central America or remain in Mexico.

Mayorkas noted that 80% of the minors, most of whom are from the three Northern Triangle countries of Central America, have relatives in the US and 40% have a parent.

The United States is facing the biggest surge of migrants at its southwestern border in 20 years, the homeland security secretary said on Tuesday as the Biden administration races to handle an influx of children trying to cross the U.S. -Mexico border alone. Mayorkas said exceptions are being made for adults with "certain acute vulnerabilities" that he did not specify or for families when Mexican authorities don't have capacity in shelters to accept them.

Mayorkas took swipes at the previous administration for dismantling an asylum system that would have enabled a more "orderly" immigration system, cutting aid to Central America and failing to vaccinate Border Patrol agents.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Biden called on migrants making the journey to the U.S.to stay home. "We were under control", Van Drew said.

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