The Biden administration is opening an overflow facility for unaccompanied migrant children apprehended at the US-Mexico border, the federal agency tasked with the children’s care told CNN in a statement.The Health and Human Services Department will reopen a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, that can accommodate about 700 children and can be expanded if necessary.
The reopening of the facility comes amid an increase in apprehensions of unaccompanied children on the Southwest border, fueled in part by deteriorating conditions in Latin America and a perceived possible relaxation of enforcement, and reduced capacity limits at other facilities due to Covid-19. It also comes as President Joe Biden rolls out new immigration executive orders tackling migration to the US southern border.
Unaccompanied children who cross the border are taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security and referred to HHS, though a Trump-era policy also makes them subject to expulsion. If placed in care, case managers work to place a child with a sponsor in the United States, like a parent or relative.The facility in Carrizo Springs will be used for children who are medically cleared from Covid-19 quarantine and will not be used for those younger than 13, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency within HHS that is responsible for the care of migrant children.As of Thursday, there were approximately 4,730 children in Office of Refugee Resettlement care.