Psaki: We Held Unaccompanied Minors in CBP Facilities Longer Than the Law Allows

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Posted: Feb 24, 2021 4:30 PM
Psaki: We Held Unaccompanied Minors in CBP Facilities Longer Than the Law Allows

Source: (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted Wednesday afternoon that the federal government held unaccompanied minors in Customs and Border Protection [CBP] processing facilities longer than the law allows as the crisis continues to get worse. 

"We've been talking to people down at the border who say that right now DHS and the Border Patrol are using the same kind of facilities now that they did during the Trump administration. That there's a facility right now it's in Donna, Texas instead of McAllen, Texas that is tents with chain link fence around it," Fox News reporter Peter Doocy said. 

"A CBP facility? Before they're transferred before an HHS facility? Is that what you're referring to?" Psaki asked.

"The issue would be that in the past few days they have hundreds of kids that they were holding for over 72 hours which is the legal limit to keep someone in a temporary facility, so I'm just curious why this is happening," Doocy followed up. 

"Let's be clear though, because I know you want to be clear with the public, about the differences. The CBP facilities, which you're right, the objective is to move kids, unaccompanied minors as quickly as possible under 72 hours to these HHS sponsored facilities, which is the one where we've been referring to in Texas. They are two different things. There have been some delays, last week because of weather and because some of these facilities to safely move these kids to did not have power and were not in a place where they had the capacity to take in these kinds and do it safely. That is not our objective, that is not our goal," Psaki said. "So some unfortunately did stay four days, five days or longer, but the objective is to move them as quickly as possible  to the HHS sponsored facilities." 

Federal law requires that unaccompanied minors are moved from temporary CBP processing centers to more permanent Health and Human Services housing within 72 hours. At the HHS facilities, unaccompanied minors continue to be processed and placed with family members living in the United States, many of them illegally.