It’s a crisis now: DHS sends FEMA to border to assist with flood of migrant children

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has tapped the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance with an influx of migrant children as the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border continues to worsen.

“I am grateful for the exceptional talent and responsiveness of the FEMA team,” Mayorkas said on Saturday. “I am incredibly proud of the agents of the Border Patrol, who have been working around the clock in difficult circumstances to take care of children temporarily in our care. 

“Yet, as I have said many times, a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child. We are working in partnership with HHS to address the needs of unaccompanied children, which is made only more difficult given the protocols and restrictions required to protect the public health and the health of the children themselves,” he added. 


(Credit: Daily Mail)

“Our goal is to ensure that unaccompanied children are transferred to HHS as quickly as possible, consistent with legal requirements and in the best interest of the children.”

Biden administration officials have said repeatedly that there is no illegal immigrant “crisis” along the border and that they had the situation in hand. But Mayorkas’ tapping of FEMA seems to undercut the administration’s narrative.

“It is never safe to come to the United States through irregular channels, and this is particularly true during a pandemic,” Mayorkas continued.  “To effectively protect both the health and safety of migrants and our communities from the spread of COVID-19, individuals apprehended at the border continue to be denied entry and are returned.”

Federal law prohibits the government from housing migrant minors in Customs and Border Protection facilities for longer than 72 hours, but it appears as though the Biden administration is unable to meet that deadline in many cases.

One report on Saturday claimed that a migrant minor facility was 729 percent over its legal capacity and that some children were going hungry and only able to shower once a week.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, reported that “hundreds of immigrant children and teenagers have been detained at a Texas Border Patrol tent facility in packed conditions,” according to lawyers who have spoken to some of them. In addition, the AP noted that “the Biden administration has denied the lawyers access to the facility.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Fox News published exclusive photos of a large outdoor migrant holding facility located underneath what looks like a highway overpass in the Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas.

“Agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas are encountering 1,500 migrants a day, overwhelming the sector — and Fox News on Saturday obtained exclusive photographs of a temporary outdoor processing site there in Mission, Texas,” the outlet reported. 

“This site is near the point of contact after the migrants illegally cross the Rio Grande River. There, they sort them among family units, unaccompanied minors and single adults and bus them to the appropriate destinations,” the network added.

In February, immigration authorities encountered at least 100,000 migrants attempting to cross illegally into the U.S. Officials are estimating more than 125,000 migrants will arrive at the southwest border in March, based on current trends, the highest number in years. And worse, immigration officials are only expecting the number to rise as spring approaches.

There were previous indications that the surge along the border had overwhelmed the administration’s capacity to handle it. Last week, Mayorkas sent an email to DHS staff looking for volunteers to assist in dealing with an “overwhelming” number of migrants.

“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” the email, obtained by Fox News, said. 

“You have likely seen the news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border,” he continued. “President Biden and I are committed to ensuring our Nation has a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system while continuing to balance all of the other critical DHS missions.”

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Jon Dougherty

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