White House Tries to Explain Away 'Human Rights Abuses' at the Border

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Posted: Feb 23, 2021 2:45 PM
White House Tries to Explain Away 'Human Rights Abuses' at the Border

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The situation at the U.S. southern border with Mexico is getting worse by the day as illegal smugglers take advantage of President Joe Biden's open border policies. 

In January, more than 5700 unaccompanied minors were taken in by Border Patrol and Health and Human services, forcing the administration to open an emergency shelter to accommodate the increase. From the Wall Street Journal

The Biden administration is looking for ways to stave off a fresh humanitarian crisis at the southern border as the number of unaccompanied children arriving to seek asylum is beginning to rise again, this time amid a global pandemic, according to government officials and others familiar with the conversations.

Children have been crossing the border illegally in increasing numbers for the past few months after a lull, when the start of the pandemic and lockdowns across Latin America last spring briefly brought border crossings to historic lows. In January, 5,707 children arrived at the border alone, up from 4,855 the month before.

But this time, government capacity is limited: The child-shelter network run by the Department of Health and Human Services to house migrant children has reduced its capacity by 40%, and as of Friday, shelters were 93% full.

“They’ve seen very large growth in a very short period of time,” said Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, who oversaw the shelter network during the Obama administration. “The closer you get to 100% capacity, the harder the system is to manage.”

Last year, Vice President Kamala Harris called the use of the same shelter by the Trump Administration a "human rights abuse." White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about that comment, and the use of the facility by the new administration, during the daily briefing Tuesday.