More Than 4,000 Migrant Children Detained Under CBP Custody In Jail-Like Cells

A sign for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility is seen in Clint, Texas, on June 26, 2019. (PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)
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More than 4,000 unaccompanied migrant children are being kept in overcrowded facilities run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), according to multiple reports.

CNN, CBS News, and ABC News report that as of Sunday, approximately 4,200 kids are currently detained in cells designed to hold migrant men.

CBS News notes that almost 3,000 of those children are being kept in the stations past the legal limit of 72 hours.

Ordinarily, unaccompanied migrant kids are supposed to be taken under the custody of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department. However, the Biden administration has stated that the recent surge of arrivals at the southern border and health risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have overwhelmed the housing system.

Acknowledging that a CBP facility “is no place for a child,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced on Saturday that he had deployed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the border to assist with processing the minors.

The dire situation recalls a separate crisis under the Trump administration: the family separation policy, under which migrant families would be separated and kept in squalid conditions at CBP facilities. The Trump administration policy was implemented as part of the former president’s effort to vilify and punish immigrants traveling to the U.S.

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Notable Replies

  1. “overwhelmed the housing system.”

    What a kind way to describe inhumanity.

  2. They need to send reporters in to expose everything that happened there right away. People need to see exactly what Trump’s policies did to these children.

  3. The dire situation recalls a similar crisis under the Trump administration, during which migrant children were kept in squalid conditions at CBP facilities after being separated from their families at the border.

    Well that’s the rub, isn’t it? Are they or aren’t they being held in poor conditions? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if CBP was continuing its general contempt for humanity, but none of these stories over the last week or so ever actually comment on the conditions of the confinement, just the confinement itself. It takes some time to process unaccompanied minors presenting themselves for asylum, and there appear to be rather a lot of them at the moment. Call me when the situation actually resembles the Trump administration’s handling of previous years’ immigration surges (which always happen when the weather is favorable, i.e., the spring and fall).

  4. …and now the Republicans that were FINE with letting the kids be separated from parents or dying on the other side of the border are on their way to ‘check’ so they can whine about immigration as opposed to Dr. Suess and Mr. Potato Head. We still won’t get to the truth.

  5. They are not, so far as we know, separating children from their parents. These are unaccompanied minors. CBP has, however, still been preemptively deporting asylum-seekers to Mexico, which is awful unto itself. CBP and ICE are both out of control.

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