Unaccompanied Kids in Border Custody Drops Almost Half in 2 Weeks

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The number of unaccompanied minors in Customs and Border Patrol custody has dropped by almost half in the space of two weeks.

According to data provided to CNN, the number of children in Border Patrol custody has fallen from a March 28 peak of 5,767 to 3,130 as of this past Sunday, although the average time in custody remains above the legal limit of 72 hours:

As of Sunday, there were 3,130 children in the custody of CBP, an agency not intended to care for children for prolonged periods of time, marking a drop from the peak — 5,767 on March 28 — since the government started providing data, indicating progress in alleviating Border Patrol stations.

The average time in CBP custody for unaccompanied migrant children is still far above the 72-hour legal limit, though, hovering around 122 hours, according to data obtained by CNN.

Over recent days, officials have been transferring an increasing number of children out of CBP custody and into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees a shelter network for migrant children and has been opening a series of pop-up sites to house children until they can be released to a sponsor, like a parent or relative, in the United States.

That’s a reduction of 45 percent in two weeks. The number of minors in HHS custody was 18,027 as of Sunday, according to CNN.

President Joe Biden and his administration have resisted pressure from media outlets to call the situation at the border a “crisis,” and to change its policy of not sending unaccompanied minors back the way they came, insisting their approach is the only “humane” one.

But the number of arrivals created poor conditions at border facilities, which the administration has taken a number of action to alleviate. Moving the children to HHS facilities means access to health and educational services, as well as safe Covid distancing.

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