U.S. shelters housed a record number of unaccompanied illegal migrant children under the Biden administration in 2022, according to CBS News.
Federal shelters housed nearly 130,000 unaccompanied illegal migrant children as border authorities saw record numbers of these migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally, CBS News reported, citing internal federal data. In fiscal year 2021, there were 122,000 unaccompanied minors in federal shelters, leading to overcrowded conditions (RELATED: ‘A Ridiculous Scenario’: Biden’s Health Department Behind Secret Illegal Migrant Flights, County Executive Claims)
“Absent policy changes, we’re likely to see a large number of unaccompanied minors for the foreseeable future,” Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, told CBS News. “Given the conditions in Central America, it makes sense for young people to try and make it to the U.S. to help their families or for families that are already here to bring their children.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have encountered over 2,000,000 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border between October 2021 and August 2022, according to agency statistics. During the same time period, federal border authorities encountered over 140,000 unaccompanied migrant children.
During the Trump administration, federal officials scrambled to house illegal migrant children. In 2018, the previous administration began housing them on military bases and faced continual backlash for separating illegal migrant children from their families.
CBP encountered over 33,000 unaccompanied migrant children in fiscal year 2020 and over 80,000 in fiscal year 2019 at the southern border.
“If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law,” then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech at the time, adding that “if you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.”
Many Democrats criticized the Trump administration’s policy on the illegal migrant children.
Around 80% of illegal migrant children have family sponsors already in the country, according to CBS News.
Unaccompanied illegal migrant children are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they typically spend years awaiting immigration proceedings, according to CBS News. The migrant grouping is exempt from Title 42 expulsion, the public health order used to quickly expel migrants.
Some of the illegal migrant children in HHS care have reported issues with the conditions and the Biden administration has taken steps to release illegal migrant children to sponsors, according to CBS News.
HHS was supporting over 22,000 child illegal migrants at one point in the spring of 2021, according to CBS News. The agency had less than 10,000 in custody as of Thursday.
The White House, DHS and HHS didn’t respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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