CBP Projects Record Number of Unaccompanied Minors to be Apprehended Crossing the Border in Fiscal Year 2021
Are you concerned about rising numbers of unaccompanied minors being apprehended at the border?
by Causes | 4.2.21
What’s the story?
- Internal data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) obtained by media outlets indicate the agency is bracing for unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied minors to illegally enter the U.S. in the months ahead, exacerbating the growing humanitarian crisis at the border.
- Data obtained by Axios, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post show that CBP is projecting that between 159,000 and 184,000 unaccompanied minors will be encountered at the southern border in fiscal year 2021, which ends in September. The low point of that estimate is more than double the all-time record for apprehensions of unaccompanied minors in a single year, as 76,019 were detained during the 2019 border crisis.
- Preliminary CBP analyzed by the Post found that over 18,800 unaccompanied minors were apprehended in March 2021, which would be an all-time high. Prior to last month, the historic monthly highs for apprehensions of unaccompanied minors were 11,861 in May 2019; 10,620 in June 2014; 10,578 in May 2014; and 9,297 in February 2021.
- The internal CBP documents show that the agency is expecting apprehensions of unaccompanied minors to continue to spike in the next several months, including more than 16,000 this month, and that estimates have rapidly moved upward.
- A month ago, the Biden administration projected 13,000 apprehensions in May, but the new estimate for May is 21,500 to 25,000, while CBP is projecting 22,000 to 26,000 in September.
- There are currently nearly 5,000 children in CBP custody, in addition to more than 13,000 unaccompanied minors under the custody of the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS). The documents show that HHS has an immediate need for 6,000 beds at its facilities.
- Axios notes that no more than 8,230 unaccompanied minors were held in federal shelters in a given year between 2004 and 2009, but the last decade brought an increase in illegal border crossings by unaccompanied minors and family units.
- The surges of migration by unaccompanied minors and family units have strained capacity at federal facilities along the border, most of which were designed to house individual adults in line with historic trends at the time of their construction. Members of Congress and the media have had limited access to some of the migrant detention centers at the border, with images and videos revealing overcrowding.
- The data and projections conflict with remarks President Joe Biden gave at a press conference last week in which he depicted the situation at the border as normal and said, “The truth of the matter is nothing has changed... It happens every single, solitary year.” He and members of his administration have also sought to discourage border crossings at this time, with Biden telling ABC, “Don’t come. We’re in the process of getting set up, don’t leave your town or city or community.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Jaime Rodriguez Sr. via Flickr / Public Domain)
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