The Biden administration on Tuesday released images showing how it has emptied out the once-packed Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas — which a few months ago had seen images emerge of migrants packed into “pods” amid the surging crisis at the border.
The administration came under fire for its handling of the crisis, and that criticism was exacerbated by the images that emerged from Donna. At that time, more than 5,000 were in Border Patrol facilities — and th number has now dropped into the hundreds.
NEW IMAGES SHOW EXPANSION OF MIGRANT FACILITY IN DONNA, TEXAS AS CRISIS RAGES
Those numbers have in turn shifted toward the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — which the administration says is better able to handle children. The administration has been quickly opening new HHS facilities — including at military bases — to handle the continuing surge in unaccompanied children.
In March, there were just over 11,000 unaccompanied minors in HHS custody; there are now more than 22,000. From there, they are normally transported to the care of a sponsor, such as a parent or other family member. The government has been paying for sponsors, many of them illegal immigrants themselves, to come and collect the minors.
On Tuesday, the White House touted the numbers in Border Patrol facilities, including the amount of time children spend in those facilities.
INSIDE THE BORDER CRISIS: PRESS TOURS PACKED TEXAS FACILITY WITH 4,000+ MIGRANTS
“The amount of time children spend in CBP custody is down 75 percent from 131 hours at the end of March to under 30 hours now,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“Clearly we’re not done, there is a lot of work ahead,” she added.
Officials at the border encountered more than 172,000 migrants in March, including a historic number of unaccompanied children. Those numbers appear set to have stayed the same in April.
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Republicans have blamed the ending of a number of border security policies like border wall construction and asylum cooperative agreements set up during the Trump administration. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has emphasized “root causes” of the crisis like poverty and violence in Central America.