Report: Number of Children Currently in Border Patrol Custody Dwarfs Trump Administration Peak


Border Patrol facilities are holding more than double the record number of migrant children that were held in June 2019 during the Trump administration, according to a new report.

The Washington Examiner reported that as of Sunday, 5,767 unaccompanied minors were being detained at facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border.

This is double the 2,600 children that were held at the height of the 2019 border crisis, according to federal data obtained by the Examiner.

The Biden administration still has not labeled the situation at the border a crisis, but the number of migrant children flooding the border keeps increasing and the administration has been forced to open new overflow facilities.

During the Trump administration, the number of migrant children in Health and Human Services facilities peaked in December 2018 at 14,226, the Examiner reported.

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As of Sunday, the outlet noted there are 11,886 children in HHS facilities. In total, there are over 17,500 children in Border Patrol and HHS custody, according to the Examiner.

CNN reporter Priscilla Alvarez described the migrant children centers as “jail-like” with concrete “prison cells,” according to the Daily Caller.

“Those are facilities that are not intended for them, they look like jail-like conditions, like prison cells with concrete walls and concrete benches, and these kids are spending more than the three-day limit than they’re supposed to according to federal law,” Alvarez said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“The administration is racing here to find enough space for these kids that is suitable for them.”

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Border Patrol agents are finding spaces for children in tents and rooms as they wait for more space to open up in HHS facilities where migrant minors are held until sponsors for the children can be found, the Examiner reported.

Minors cannot be immediately deported because they could be victims of human trafficking.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has called the border situation “difficult” and said the administration is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years” in a March 16 statement.

The number of children in Border Patrol facilities is also higher than the number of children that were separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” initiative, according to the Examiner.

The Biden administration continues to blame the Trump administration for the problem at the border.

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“We are digging out of a broken system over the past four years — not just the inhumane policies, but the fact that there were never efforts put in place to look for and seek shelters where these children could be safely and humanely housed,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday, according to a transcript of the media briefing.

The Trump administration chose not to take any migrants into custody in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but President Joe Biden reversed this decision when he took office in January.

The Examiner reported over 117,000 unaccompanied minors are expected to show up at the southern border.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith