The number of migrants at the southern border of the United States is rising, and with it the number of asylum seekers released without a date for their hearings.
An Axios report revealed this Sunday, March 21, that Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley “have no choice but to release people almost immediately after apprehension because there is no room to hold people.”
The report explains that migrants crossing into the United States are registering in a digital system using their identifying characteristics and that they themselves are responsible for scheduling their own asylum hearing.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, authorities apprehended more than 100,000 migrants in February, representing a 28% monthly increase since January.
While this is happening with adult migrants, more than 800 unaccompanied children are detained for more than 10 days, exceeding the 72 hours of detention established by law.
Axios reported that as of Saturday, 3,314 migrant children, who are unaccompanied, have been detained for more than 72 hours due to the lack of shelter for them. In the midst of this situation, the administration sought additional emergency facilities, including hotel rooms and temporary sites, to house the growing number of migrant children and families.
There are now more than 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and 5,000 more under the care of Customs and Border Protection.
Despite President Biden’s knowledge of what is happening at the border and the escalating crisis, he has opted not to use an emergency order to turn away children at the border, as was done under the Trump administration.
For his part, former President Trump said on Sunday that Biden turned the situation at the border into “a national disaster” with his handling of the crisis.
“We proudly handed the Biden administration the most secure border in history,” the statement read. “All they had to do was keep this system running smoothly on autopilot. Instead, in the span of a few short weeks, the Biden administration has turned a national triumph into a national disaster,” the former President said.
After announcing that his administration would be welcoming to migrants, Biden is now struggling to contain the largest immigration surge in 20 years. The country received close to two million immigrants so far this year.
COVID-19 and no water
Texas Governor Greg Abbott reported that in Midland, one of the migrant detention centers, 10% of the detained population tested positive for coronavirus, while “they have no clean running water tested on site.”
Abbott said that what is happening at the border is a real “crisis” and “a humanitarian disaster”, and reported that in Carrizo Springs, another detention center, the same percentage of migrants have also tested positive for COVID-19.