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US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stopped a whopping 834 unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border Wednesday, the most since the Biden administration began releasing a daily tally of apprehensions of children earlier this year.
The data, which was first reported by the Washington Examiner, come days after a top DHS official estimated in a court filing that more than 19,000 children traveling alone were picked up by immigration officers last month. That number would top the previous high of 18,877 in March of this year and works out to an average of more than 600 unaccompanied children being apprehended per day. Since then, CBP has apprehended 17,144 unaccompanied minors in April (571 stops per day); 14,137 in May (456 stops per day) and 15,253 in June (508 stops per day).
The report noted that the number of apprehensions does not include Mexican children who attempted to cross the border. It said that most of those kids would be automatically repatriated and would not spend time in CBP custody.
The numbers released Thursday also revealed that the number of kids held by CBP has increased more than fourfold since late May, when the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) released their first daily report.
On May 27, 635 children were in CBP custody. As of Wednesday, that number had swelled to 2,784. The 30-day average of the number of unaccompanied children apprehended had swelled to 512 per day, a 42 percent increase over the 30-day average of 361 in late May.
Under current DHS policy, illegal immigrants under 18 who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian when apprehended by CBP are required to be transferred to HHS within 72 hours. The child is then tested for COVID-19 and quarantined until it can be placed with a sponsor in the US.
DHS says that more than 80 percent of unaccompanied children have a family member in the US, and more than 40 percent have a parent or legal guardian in the US.
Last month, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra notified Congress that the administration was reallocating $860 million of funds designated for COVID relief to help cover the cost of holding unaccompanied minors stopped at the southern border.
Lawmakers from both parties have blamed the Biden administration for setting policies encouraging illegal immigrants to make the dangerous journey to the border from Central American and points elsewhere.
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