An increase in the number of unaccompanied children has put more stress on the immigration system, which operates under limited capacities as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are well aware of the challenges of having these unaccompanied children across the border and the influx that we are certainly preparing to deal with and are preparing to approach,” said White House Secretary Jen Psaki.
The Department of Health and Human Services charges unaccompanied immigrant children until after they are adopted, such as a parent or relative in the United States. But as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of COVID-19, more than half of children’s cots can be used.
There are approximately 7,700 unaccompanied children under the supervision of HHS. The department has approximately 13,650 beds to accommodate children.
A separate document, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls this scenario. “Special circumstances” and stated “Places should be planned and expected to have COVID-19 infection”, referring to the nature of the outbreak and acknowledging “No 0% risk scenario”.
Friday’s memoir highlights the challenge of the Biden administration in preventing border patrol children from being detained.
“The additional shelter will reduce the likelihood of children staying in border patrol stations for longer than necessary, where they face the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including child welfare issues related to child abuse prevention.” Set up that, too many border stations poses a greater risk of infection. For younger [Office of Refugee Resettlement] Program site that may operate to the best of its permitted capacity with comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation measures, “the record reads.
“Today, as suggested by the CDC, ORR has notified a facility that may be temporarily reactivated according to its fully authorized capacity up to the level of safe occupancy.” Activating the new bed should be done safely. The Refugee Resettlement Office is the federal agency under the HHS responsible for caring for migrant children.
The CDC recommends that shelters put in place mitigating Covid-19 measures, such as the use of masks, spacing, cleaning and disinfection, improved ventilation, enhanced testing, and vaccination for children 16 years and older.
HHS recently also opened an overflowing factory in Texas to care for children arriving in the southern U.S. border without parents or relatives until they can move with their families in the United States.
“We have to look for facilities and places where we can safely and humane have these unattended minors in the meantime,” Psaki told reporters on Friday.
This story has been updated with additional details.