Originally Published in USA Today
Rebecca Morin - March 18, 2021
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's administration faces a growing issue at the U.S.-Mexican border, where an increasing number of migrant children seeking asylum are detained.
Though the White House has maintained the border is closed, migrant children are let in rather than being turned awaybecause officials said it would be too dangerous for them to make their journey back to their home countries on their own.
Biden administration officials and lawmakers on both sides are grappling with how to respond to the situation at the border.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Tuesday “the situation at the southwest border is difficult."
“We are working around the clock to manage it, and we will continue to do so," he said. "That is our job."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday called the situation a “humanitarian crisis," a label the Biden administration has avoided. Republicans on Capitol Hill label the surge of migrant children as “Biden’s border crisis.”
Here's why we're seeing an increase number of children seeking asylum at the border and what is being done about it
Is there a surge of migrants at the border?
The number of unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum at the nation’s southern border began rising late last year, before Biden was inaugurated as president.
As of Sunday morning, more than 4,200 unaccompanied migrant children were being held in short-term holding facilities, according to CBS News. Of those, 3,000 had been there longer than 72 hours. Migrant children are supposed to be moved from the short-term facilities within 72 hours. The facilities are jail-like and not suited for long-term containment.