Originally posted by CBS News and written by Camilo Montoya-Galvez. Summary provided by McEntee Law Group.
The U.S. is preparing for a spike in unaccompanied, migrant children crossing the border. To prepare, they’ve set up 19,000 beds at shelters to avoid children ending up in immigrant detention centers.
White House officials are trying to avoid leaving thousands of migrant children stranded without shelter, which happened in 2021.
“We have some less than 8,700 children in our care. That’s down from a high of over 22,000 about a year ago. We ended up finding shelter for those children over the course of a year. And we believe that it has been provided in a safe and humane way,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Health and Human Services, (HHS) has doubled its shelter space since the start of the Biden administration. Experts say they are working on managing changing capacity levels.
DHS must process all migrants who enter the border illegally. However, they must transfer unaccompanied minors to HHS within 3 days of processing.
HHS is then responsible for caring for migrant children until they are of legal age. Alternatively, migrant children can also be placed with a U.S. sponsor.
Officials anticipate an increase in migrant arrests along the border with the lifting of Title 42.
In 2021, the number of unaccompanied migrant children entering the country reached record level highs. This prompted HHS to set up emergency intake sites for temporary shelter. However, conditions at the sites were substandard and distressing for children.
While they have made many changes to existing emergency sites, experts say they are still inadequate for taking care of children.
HHS also plans to expand vaccine access for children in shelters, ages 5 to 11.