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'Tripled in Two Weeks:' Unaccompanied Children Now Pouring Across Southern Border

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

They can engage in rhetorical dodges all day long, opting not to apply unpleasant labels to unpleasant realities, but word games can't erase those realities. Last week, we made the case that Democratic campaign rhetoric and early Biden administration policies are directly fueling a predictable and avoidable border crisis. We've cited multiple news accounts detailing how illegal immigrants' decisions have been influenced by their perceptions of the new administration's notably lax approach to border and internal enforcement – including examples of jubilant migrants chanting Joe Biden's name after he won the election, and various unlawful entrants telling journalists that they'd been led to believe the new administration would let them stay in the US.


We've also highlighted Team Biden's foolish abandonment of Trump-era agreements with Mexico and three Central American nations that had successfully mitigated previous unsustainable surges, without any viable alternatives in place. Finally, we've cited reports that border officials have been sounding the alarm about a worsening situation, severely straining resources and capacity already. The ingredients for a self-inflicted crisis were all in place. And that maddeningly inevitable mess is now playing out as anticipated. Note the t-shirts:

Thousands of migrant children are backed up in United States detention facilities along the border with Mexico, part of a surge of immigration from Central Americans fleeing poverty and violence that could overwhelm President Biden’s attempt to create a more humane approach to those seeking entry into the country. The number of migrant children in custody along the border has tripled in the past two weeks to more than 3,250, according to federal immigration agency documents obtained by The New York Times, and many of them are being held in jail-like facilities for longer than the three days allowed by law. The problem for the administration is both the number of children crossing the border and what to do with them once they are in custody. Under the law, the children are supposed to be moved to shelters run by the Health and Human Services Department, but because of the pandemic the shelters until last week were limiting how many children they could accommodate. The growing number of unaccompanied children is just one element of an escalating problem at the border. Border agents encountered a migrant at the border about 78,000 times in January — more than double the rate at the same time a year ago and higher than in any January in a decade.


Unaccompanied minor arrivals have tripled in two weeks. Many are being detained "in jail-like facilities," that might be described by some as "cages," could they not? And overall Border Patrol interactions with illegal immigrants are at a decade-long peak. Why it's almost as if incentives matter and people are getting the reckless message being sent them by politicians. So far, the Biden administration's feeble, useless response has been to beg illegal immigrants and potential asylum seekers to just wait awhile and delay their journeys to America. How's that working out? The Washington Post reports:

Six weeks after taking office, he appears on a path to a crisis, despite months of warnings from veteran Homeland Security officials about the risks of abrupt policy moves...The latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures show Mexican adults and children crossing at levels not recorded in years...Border agents are just as busy though, and they say the number of migrants observed on surveillance cameras who successfully evade capture, known as “got-aways,” has also soared. Officials said they counted 1,000 got-aways on a single day last month.

Beyond those getting apprehended, hundreds and hundreds of illegal immigrants are crossing the border illegally every day, that we know of, with some likely knowing full well that they can arrive, get convicted of additional crimes, and still not get deported. There's a new sheriff in town, and he's laid out a welcome mat for outlaws while taking a nap on his porch. It's bad in general, and it's bad for children (here's another "cages" reference without that specific word being invoked). A USA Today headline blares, "Migrant children at border are still being separated from relatives for weeks under Biden administration." We know that Biden has approved using tax dollars to fly unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants to stay with family members inside America (again, consider those incentives), but the crush is so overwhelming that family separations are unavoidable. It's almost as if campaigning on lazy slogans about tough, complex issues sets politicians up for failure when they actually have to govern. And recall that the situation they've created is expected to get worse, based on internal federal projections:


A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios. That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration...The Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief of staff told officials this month, "We need to prepare for border surges now," according to an internal email obtained by Axios but first reported by the Washington Times.

I'll leave you with a tweet I embedded in an earlier piece – but I want to post it again because it showcases an indefensible juxtaposition of liberal governance. Priorities:

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