Border Patrol apprehended a record 834 unaccompanied children along the nation’s southern border on Wednesday, with Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton calling President Joe Biden’s border policy “a disaster.”
Cotton shared the words in a tweet shared on Thursday night with the new report. He said, “Biden’s open border policy is a disaster.”
Biden’s open border policy is a disaster. https://t.co/iY0bXE3rpb
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) August 5, 2021
The record number does not even include children from Mexico, “most of whom,” the report added, “will be repatriated and will not remain in CBP custody.”
In addition to the 834 unaccompanied migrant children, the Wednesday report recorded 2,784 children in the custody of Customs and Border Protection and 591 transferred out of CBP custody.
A total of 14,523 migrant children were in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, while 612 children were discharged from HHS care.
The updated statistics also noted the 30-day average of unaccompanied children apprehended and placed into CBP custody has reached 512 children per day.
The Washington Examiner reported, “The rise in unaccompanied children coming across the southern border began in February, shortly after the Biden administration commenced. Up until this point, children were sent back to their home countries to avoid filling government immigration facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Biden announced early on that the DHS would no longer immediately turn away children, as had been the policy since Trump imposed the public health measure in March 2020.”
The Examiner report also shared, “Preliminary government data indicates the U.S. will exceed the 19,000 mark for single children taken into custody in July, surpassing the March record. That number does not include children who show up at the border with a family member.”
The report comes following a string of criticisms regarding the care of unaccompanied children. In July, an immigration organization criticized the “heartbreaking conditions” at a detention center for illegal migrant children at Fort Bliss, Texas, in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
In a court document filed in June, a 13-year-old girl held at the Fort Bliss site said children slept in tents with hundreds of others where the lights were always on. She said they were served bloody or raw meat.
Employees confiscated items the migrant children could use to hurt themselves, including writing utensils and plastic identification cards, according to the girl. She said she and dozens of others were placed on a suicide watch and monitored continuously for 10 days.
At one point, the girl said, the children were only allowed to shower for five minutes every two days. She said she had been at the detention center for almost two months.
Before being brought to the Fort Bliss site, the girl said she was held in a crowded trailer and a tent referred to as “the freezer” because it was so cold.
“These heartbreaking conditions are emblematic of the many problems with the warehousing of vulnerable children by contractors with little to no child welfare experience,” Krish O’Mara Vinarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told the DCNF.
“Overly controlled schedules, limited educational and recreational time, inadequate nutrition, and insufficient access to case managers are deeply troubling conditions that no child should be subjected to.”
“These children aren’t just in our government’s custody; they are in our care — their welfare is better served in settings that are small, safe and licensed in line with their best interests.”
“The primary focus now and in years to come must be building permanent, licensed capacity to eliminate the need to warehouse children in conditions that may traumatize them. We can, and must, welcome these children with compassion and dignity,” Vinarajah added.
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