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Nearly twice as many unaccompanied migrant children apprehended daily at US-Mexico border as at 2019 peak

US border officials are detaining on average more than 600 unaccompanied migrant children who cross the...

Posted: Mar 24, 2021 9:22 AM

US border officials are detaining on average more than 600 unaccompanied migrant children who cross the US-Mexico border each day, a Department of Homeland Security official familiar with the data told CNN.

The daily average as of Tuesday is up from around 500 earlier this month, and far surpasses the height of the 2019 surge of migrant families, when Border Patrol apprehended around 370 unaccompanied children a day on average, according to agency data.

The current apprehension numbers underscore the pressing challenge facing President Joe Biden's administration as officials scramble to find suitable shelter space for unaccompanied minors, resorting to convention centers and emergency intake sites to transfer them from US Border Patrol facilities, which are intended to process adults -- not care for children.

But children make up about half of all migrants in Customs and Border Protection custody, which was around 10,000 people -- families, single adults and children -- over the last several days. Preliminary government data reviewed by CNN shows Border Patrol detained more than 11,000 unaccompanied migrant children between February 28 and March 20, already eclipsing the number apprehended in the full month of February.

As of Tuesday morning, around 4,800 unaccompanied minors were in CBP custody, according to the official, down just slightly from the number in custody Monday. Of the 4,800, more than 3,300 -- or around 70% -- were in custody longer than the 72-hour legal limit, the official added.

The average time in custody for unaccompanied children continues to hover around 130 hours, documents reviewed by CNN show.

Still, the Biden administration has pushed back against characterizing the flow of migrants as a "crisis," maintaining instead that it's a challenge.

Over the weekend, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the administration's work at the southern border and placed blame on the Trump administration for dismantling the immigration system, saying his department has to rebuild it "from scratch."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden does not think the conditions at Customs and Border Protection facilities are acceptable and that the administration is working on moving children out of those facilities as soon as possible.

"They are not meant for children, and that's why he wants to open more shelters and increase and expedite processing at the border," Psaki told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" Monday.

"And that's an issue he's focused on every single day."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 219755

Reported Deaths: 2858
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41855618
Washington27838258
Marion24509333
Clackamas19964242
Lane14885174
Jackson12709156
Deschutes1056587
Umatilla958794
Linn627782
Yamhill507481
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Wasco156131
Lincoln154422
Crook139924
Hood River126734
Morrow122917
Clatsop117610
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Curry79112
Tillamook7605
Grant5637
Lake4868
Harney46011
Wallowa2396
Gilliam871
Sherman872
Wheeler441
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California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3966943

Reported Deaths: 64429
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles130334324691
Riverside3085464662
San Bernardino3067695240
San Diego2980023798
Orange2824265144
Santa Clara1234042099
Sacramento1157321781
Kern1132161425
Fresno1046391746
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Ventura838691044
Contra Costa77708834
San Joaquin769151460
Stanislaus658931095
Tulare50409854
San Mateo44622588
Monterey44523528
San Francisco40544563
Solano36004263
Santa Barbara35741467
Merced33321485
Sonoma32880330
Imperial29164745
Placer25146307
Kings23765251
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera17058249
Santa Cruz16616207
Marin14958239
Yolo14863215
Butte13235205
Shasta13043242
El Dorado11125120
Napa1044282
Sutter10203127
Yuba700450
San Benito628263
Tehama589266
Lassen588826
Nevada541675
Humboldt511453
Mendocino471052
Tuolumne453573
Lake423866
Amador387748
Siskiyou256640
Glenn246527
Colusa235718
Calaveras231658
Del Norte16688
Inyo147338
Mono13265
Plumas7726
Modoc5767
Mariposa5007
Trinity4676
Sierra1310
Alpine890
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