As of Sunday, more than 700 unaccompanied minors who crossed into the United States from Mexico were in Border Patrol custody, Axios reports.
The children were waiting to be sent to shelters that are overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. Migrant kids are not supposed to be held in Border Patrol stations for more than 72 hours. An internal Customs and Border Protection document obtained by Axios states that as of 8:15 a.m. on Sunday, nine of the unaccompanied minors had been detained for longer than 72 hours, and more than 200 had been there for over 48 hours.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said some children were held at Border Patrol facilities for four or five days because of the brutal winter storm that hit Texas last week, leaving several shelters without power. For unaccompanied minors, “we have a couple of options,” Psaki said. “We can send them back home … we can quickly transfer them from [Customs and Border Protection] to these [Health and Human Services-run] facilities … we can put them with families and sponsors without any vetting. We’ve chosen the middle option.”
In January, more than 5,700 unaccompanied minors were apprehended crossing the southern border. Border crossings usually peak in the spring, and while the U.S. has 13,200 beds for migrant kids, only half can be used due to social distancing measures. Now, there are more than 7,000 migrant children in U.S custody, and this week the Biden administration reopened an emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, to hold some of the kids.