Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: What Is Happening At The Border

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Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

The border; let’s talk about it. You’ve probably seen it in the news already; however, there is a severe border crisis occurring at the southern US border, and that is what we will be covering in today’s article. 

BBC reports that the US is experiencing a 20-year high in the number of migrants at the border. The Biden Administration has allowed unaccompanied children under 18 to enter the US while their claims are being processed, as most families are being turned away due to COVD-19. As of March 14th, 4,200 children are being housed by the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in government-run detention facilities. To get some context, this is a 31% increase in comparison to last week when 3,200 migrant children, a majority being from South America, were reported to be in custody. The conditions of the facilities, however, are unknown. The children’s lawyers have claimed that it is cramped and overcrowded. Children themselves have said they are not given quality access to soap or food (“What Is Happening with Migrant Children at the Southern US Border?”).

According to NPR, he Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who usually deals with major emergencies such as natural disasters, has been sent to the border by US officials over the next 90 days to process the growing number. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated on the 13th that the federal government is planning to move unaccompanied children from the CBP to a family member or sponsor for the time being (Sprunt). 

There has been a lot of criticism in regards to the conditions of these facilities. Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas stated that they are “no place for a child,” as warehouses and jails have been compared to them. Additionally, the legal limit for children to remain in that custody before being transferred to health officials in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has been exceeded as almost 3,000 children have been kept in the government-run facilities for over 72 hours. Other facilities, like ORR, are usually better suited for kids as they provide play areas, classrooms, and counseling services while also assigning kids into temporary families and homes until their claim is heard by the court (“What Is Happening with Migrant Children at the Southern US Border?”).

The US is trying to remedy the issue by more government buildings for the children. Experts say that the reason behind the surge could be from poverty, gang crime, natural disasters, or COVID-19 related job losses, while others blame the change of administration. For further understanding, under Title 42, a pandemic-related health order, the prior administration was allowed to deport anyone caught illegally crossing the border automatically, whereas the new administration has only applied the order to adults and families and not to unaccompanied children (“What Is Happening with Migrant Children at the Southern US Border?”).

Border issues is a complicated topic of discussion, yet it is vital to know the possible conditions and definite complications going on at the US southern border.

Works Cited

Sprunt, Barbara. “DHS Directs FEMA To Help With Surge Of Migrant Children At Southern Border.” NPR, NPR, 14 Mar. 2021, www.npr.org/2021/03/14/976988498/dhs-directs-fema-to-help-with-surge-of-migrant-children-at-southern-border. 

“What Is Happening with Migrant Children at the Southern US Border?” BBC News, BBC, 15 Mar. 2021, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56405009.