The number of migrant children in Border Patrol custody is down significantly.

The number of migrant children in Border Patrol custody is down significantly.

Originally Published in The New York Times

Eileen Sullivan and Zolan Kanno-Youngs

The Biden administration is starting to see some success in its efforts to suitably house the migrant children flooding to the southwest border, with a fraction of the number of children in Customs and Border Protection custody than there were a month ago.

Over the past month, the number of migrant children in the jail-like facilities of the Border Patrol dropped 83 percent, from 5,767 on March 29 to 954 on Thursday, according to government statistics. The length of time children are staying in border shelters is down as well, from an average of 133 hours to 28. By law, children are not supposed to stay in border shelters for more than 72 hours.

The improvements are attributable in part to an increase in facilities overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services where children can be housed under better living conditions.

More children are also being discharged from government custody, most often to live with a relative.

The number of migrant children arriving alone at the southern border has decreased by a much smaller amount, from 626 on March 29 to 525 a month later, according to an official briefed on the data.

While the number of migrants at the border surges each spring, the surge this year has been much higher than normal.

Eileen Sullivan joined The Times in 2017 and covers news about the White House and Capitol Hill. Previously, she spent a decade at The Associated Press, where she and three other A.P. reporters won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for their work revealing the New York Police Department's Muslim spying programs. @esullivannyt

Zolan Kanno-Youngs is a White House correspondent covering a range of domestic and international issues in the Biden White House, including homeland security and extremism. He joined The Times in 2019 as the homeland security correspondent. @KannoYoungs

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