More Than 800 Unaccompanied Migrant Children Are Being Held Longer Than Is Legal
More than 800 unaccompanied children have been held in US border patrol custody for more than triple the amount of time legally allowed.
Under federal law, migrant children should only be held for a maximum of three days, however hundreds of kids have been kept in custody for as long as 10 days, according to documents seen by CNN.
Unaccompanied children would ordinarily be transferred onto the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours, but the sudden surge in migrants trying to cross the border into the US, coupled with a pandemic health order, have caused huge delays to the system.
By Sunday, March 21, 822 children had been held in border patrol facilities for more than 10 days, with a total of around 4,900 children currently in custody.
The conditions of the custody facilities have been likened to that of prison, with concerns for migrant children growing by the day.
Many have accused President Joe Biden and his administration of being unprepared for the volume of people trying to cross over the Mexico-United States border since he took office in January.
Record numbers of migrants have attempted the treacherous journey in this year alone, with some citing false rumours of an ‘open border’ making their way into impoverished communities, for the reason behind the sudden surge, BBC reports.
Biden has dismissed claims he is the reason for the for the current volume of migrants entering the US, telling ABC, ‘The idea that Biden said, “come”. I heard the other day that they’re coming because I’m a nice guy. Here’s the deal: They’re not.’
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Alexjandro Mayorkas has declined to give a timeframe on when children will be moved from border patrol custody and into better accommodation, but promised it would be ‘as soon as possible’.
He told CNN the current administration is ‘working around the clock to move those children out of the border patrol facilities into the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services that shelters them’.
I have said repeatedly from the very outset that a border patrol station is no place for a child.
Biden has promised to visit the US-Mexico border ‘at some point’, adding that he ‘knows what’s going on in those facilities’, when asked if he wanted to see for himself what is happening.
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