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Homeland Security chief directs FEMA to aid in sheltering unaccompanied migrant children

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Homeland Security chief directs FEMA to aid in sheltering unaccompanied migrant children

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The announcement comes in the wake of a week that saw the number of unaccompanied migrant children in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol rise to unprecedented heights – More than 3,200 unaccompanied migrant children were in the custody of CBP, according to documents obtained by CNN and dated Monday.

Of these, about 2,600 expected their location in shelters suitable for minors, but there were just over 500 beds available to accommodate them.

“I am incredibly proud of the border patrol officers, who have been working 24 hours a day in difficult circumstances to care for children temporarily in our care,” Mayorkas wrote on Saturday. “However, as I have said many times, a border patrol center is not a place for a child. We are working in collaboration with (the Department of Health and Human Services) to address the needs of unaccompanied children, which is only made more difficult by considering the protocols and restrictions needed to protect public health and the health of the children themselves. “

On Friday, the Biden administration announced the termination of a Trump-era deal this had allowed DHS and HHS to share information about potential sponsors of migrant children with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which a Biden administration official said had had a “creepy effect” on undocumented family members.

Earlier this month, CNN reported that migrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border were only kept on average in the custody of the border patrol for more than the three-day limit, the overwhelming capacity of border facilities and which indicated that it is taking shape, according to internal documents.

But at a White House press conference, Mayorkas declined to describe the situation on the border as a crisis, instead of calling it a “challenge.”

With Saturday’s announcement, FEMA will work with HHS “to examine all available options to quickly expand physical capacity for suitable accommodation”.

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