US expects record-breaking surge of unaccompanied migrant kids at border this year: report

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The federal government expects a record surge of up to 161,000 unaccompanied minors to flood the US-Mexico border this year, according to a leaked report.

“DHS projections call for approximately 148,000 and 161,000 [unaccompanied children] referrals to [Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement] this year,” according to an Interior Department projection obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The report, dated January 2022, warned of “monthly projections exceeding those seen in FY 2021” — when a record-shattering 147,000 migrant children entered the US alone, without a parent or family member.

US Customs and Border Patrol agents picked up more than 101,000 unaccompanied minors between October 2021 and May of this year, according to agency tallies — with four months still to go in the fiscal year ending September 30.

The month-by-month totals in six out of those eight months have far exceeded the record numbers seen in the previous year.

A two-year-old Honduran child cries while her mother is detained in McAllen, Texas.
A 2-year-old Honduran child cries while her mother is detained in McAllen, Texas.
John Moore/Getty Images
A Honduran child plays at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.
A Honduran child plays at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Most children who arrive alone at the border and enter the US illegally are shielded from deportation under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. They typically remain at HHS shelters until officials find an adult — usually a relative — in the US to take charge of their care.

But the law has encouraged families to send kids on the dangerous journey alone, critics say, and has forced the Biden administration to scramble to safely house them.

Biden was accused of hypocrisy when his administration reopened emergency housing facilities for migrant teens in early 2021, with some likening it to putting “kids in cages” — a policy he had denounced during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Immigrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the border from Mexico on June 22, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona.
Undocumented immigrants are processed by the Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Arizona, on June 22, 2022.
Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images
A child sits with his mother in an isolation area in a bus station after they tested positive for Covid-19, according to his mother, after their arrival to the U.S. on February 26, 2021 in Brownsville, Texas.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott criticized President Joe Biden for allowing a record number of migrants to enter the US border.
John Moore/Getty Images
Two unaccompanied migrants drive water while being escorted to a makeshift processing checkpoint in Roma, Texas on March 27, 2021.
Two unaccompanied migrants drink water while being escorted to a makeshift processing checkpoint in Roma, Texas.
ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Biden came to office pledging to roll back President Trump’s tough border policies, which led to a plunge in illegal crossings during his term in office.

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