New internal documents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration’s stretched resources, according to a new report by Axios.
In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents. That’s up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.
The same documents, dated Tuesday, say the shelter system is at 94% occupancy and expected to reach its maximum this month.
The influx of unaccompanied minors is a mushrooming problem for the new president and his policy and social welfare agencies.
Axios says HHS has already moved to open overflow shelters and to increase the speed with which it releases children to caretakers already in the U.S.
In the week ending March 1, an average of 174 children were released from HHS custody each day. That was up from a weekly average of 90 in late January and early February, according to the documents.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on March 1 that there “was not a crisis at the border” despite the influx of migrants, a Fox News report says.
Axios also said the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border could fast overwhelm government systems, in ways similar to the crises in 2014 and 2019.
Mayorkas said President Joe Biden has a “multipart strategy” to execute his vision, including ways the administration is working with the Mexican government and international organizations in Mexico, vaccinating frontline workers at ports of entry, and more.
“We are not saying don’t come. We are saying don’t come now, because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process for them as quickly as possible,” Mayorkas added.
The news comes as some migrants released by Border Patrol are coming to North Carolina, according to U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-08).
On March 3, Hudson sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper asking for more information.
“Reports that migrants released by Border Patrol in TX and positive for COVID-19 have plans to travel to NC are deeply troubling. I just sent a letter to Gov. Cooper demanding he take action to stop these individuals to protect the safety of our state and uphold the rule of law,” Hudson said.
Rep. Hudson asks Cooper in the letter to “take action to protect the state” as soon as possible.