A third whistleblower has come forward with allegations of abuse of unaccompanied migrant children held at a giant emergency shelter at Fort Bliss, Texas, run by contractors of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Six emergency housing facilities in Texas and California are set to close in the coming weeks as the number of unaccompanied children in U.S. custody has begun to slowly decrease. This is a result of efforts made to expedite the process of releasing children to family in the U.S., as well as declining border apprehensions. The number of children held at emergency sites has also decreased.
Testimonials from a court case on Monday revealed inadequate and unlivable conditions for migrant children being held in emergency shelters along the border. The testimonials described overcrowding, spoiled food, a lack of clean clothes, and an absence of mental health resources available for the children, many of whom are struggling with depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Some children have been held for months in these emergency shelters. Despite the Biden administration’s promises of a more human approach to immigration, many testimonials indicate that they are struggling to provide for these children’s most basic needs.
Arrests and detentions on the US-Mexico border rose slightly during April to 178,622. The number of unaccompanied minors, as well as the number of minors in custody, has dropped slightly.
A new shelter for unaccompanied migrant children is set to open in El Paso and is expected to host up to 104 teenage girls.
The number of unaccompanied migrant children in CBP facilities has dropped 84 percent over the past month, from a peak of 5,767 on March 28 to 954 on April 28.
The number of unaccompanied minors in CBP custody has dropped 45%, from a peak of 5,767 on March 28th down to 3,130 as of April 11th.
U.S. border authorities took 18,890 unaccompanied minors into custody in March, the highest number on record.
There were 435 incidents in the Rio Grande Valley sector of families self-separating after being apprehended crossing together between February 24th and March 23rd, according to Border Patrol.
Two Ecuadorian girls (aged 2 and 5) were dropped over the top of a 14-foot section of the border wall by a smuggler on March 30th. The children were taken to a CBP facility and then to a local hospital.
37 unaccompanied migrant girls staying at the San Diego convention center have tested positive for Covid.
The Biden administration could need as many as 34,100 additional beds to keep up with projected numbers of unaccompanied minors, according to internal documents.
The Biden administration is projecting sustained high numbers of unaccompanied minors, with possibly as many as 26,000 expected in September.
The Biden administration is anticipating increased numbers of unaccompanied minors for April and May. Internal projections indicate between 18,600-22,000 crossings for April and between 21,800- 25,000 for May.
The Biden administration has launched an effort to open 16,000 emergency beds to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors by opening several more influx facilities.
HHS has asked the Pentagon to temporarily house unaccompanied children at Joint Base San Antonio and Fort Bliss, Texas.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement has directed shelters to expedite the release of some unaccompanied minors with parents or legal guardians in the U.S. to reduce strained capacity at shelters.
U.S. border officials are holding 5,000 unaccompanied minors in custody, and many are remaining in Border Patrol custody for longer than the legal limit of 72 hours.
HHS announced that they will not be bringing more unaccompanied minors to an influx facility in Midland, Texas amid reports of high rates of Covid positivity and a lack of fully qualified staff.
The American Red Cross has been asked to support FEMA and ORR in working with unaccompanied minors at the border.