Number Of Minor Detainees At Southern Border Has Tripled Over Last Two Weeks

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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More than 3,250 unaccompanied minors are being detained at facilities along the United States’ southern border, a number that has tripled over the past two weeks.

More than 1,360 of the minors have been held longer than 72 hours, which is the longest they can be held before being transferred to a shelter, the New York Times reported . Many of the minors are being held in facilities designed for adults.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which operates the shelters for unaccompanied minors, is currently housing 8,100 children, according to documents obtained by the Times. HHS only has 838 beds available.

Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar told Fox News on March 6 that the Biden Administration was not being straightforward with lawmakers about the number of illegal crossings.

“Those numbers of people being released, they’re purposefully withholding that information. They’ve been told not to withhold that information. I now know that they’re bringing people from McAllen over to Laredo, processing them in Laredo, and they’re going to release them in my community,” Cuellar said, according to Fox News.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee released a letter on March 4 in which they called for hearings on the increasing number of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Lance Gooden To Send Letter To White House Urging Biden To Recognize Border Crisis)

The Biden Administration has resisted calling the situation at the border a crisis. Press Secretary Jen Psaki has emphasized “that we are not going to turn away kids who are under eighteen.”

The Department of Homeland Security expects more than 117,000 unaccompanied minors to present themselves at the United States’ southern border in 2021, the Washington Examiner reported.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently lifted COVID-19 restrictions on HHS facilities that house unaccompanied minors, allowing them to operate at full capacity.