A group of Republicans are calling for a hearing to examine the Biden administration’s response to a rise in the number of migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a letter to Zoe Lofgren, chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, the Republican lawmakers noted U.S. Customs and Border Protection had had over 365,000 encounters with migrants at the southern border since Oct. 1 of 2020.
Over 26,000 of those encounters were with unaccompanied migrant children. As of Feb. 25, the Department of Health and Human Services was at 92% capacity for the housing of unaccompanied minors.
The letter reads:
“The number of [unaccompanied alien children] encounters shows no signs of decreasing – a fact the Biden administration has acknowledged by opening one of the same influx facilities that the Trump administration used, by keeping other facilities on ready status, and by requesting that other federal agencies provide a list of facilities that could potentially be used to house UACs”
It continues, “Just last week, the White House press secretary acknowledged that the Biden administration is so overrun by UACs that it has held UACs at CBP facilities for ‘four days, five days, or longer.'”
The Republicans noted it is longer than the statutory 72-hour limitation.
Read the letter below:
🚨 #BREAKING: Republicans demand hearing to examine the Biden Administration’s response to the sharp increase of unaccompanied alien children arriving at the southern U.S. border. pic.twitter.com/prI5bArm2m— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) March 4, 2021
They argued Biden’s decision to roll back the Trump administration’s immigration policies has caused more unaccompanied migrant children to head to the border.
“Last Congress, the Committee and Subcommittee held several hearings ‘to hold the Administration accountable for its failure to effectively manage the humanitarian crisis at the border and its continued mistreatment of children,'” the Republicans explained.
They continued, “Your silence on this issue in the last five weeks, unfortunately, suggests that you do not plan to hold the Biden administration to the same standard to which you held the Trump administration.”
According to documents obtained by Axios, in the week ending March 1, an average of 321 migrant children were referred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) custody by Border Patrol.
That is an increase from a weekly average of 203 in January and early February.
The documents also say the shelter system is expected to reach maximum capacity this month.
A source told Axios some of Biden’s officials who are responsible for immigration policy are planning a trip to the border this weekend.
“A trip is not finalized and the White House continues to work on locking in details and logistics for a potential visit,” White House spokesperson Vedant Patel said.