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Biden Administration Scrambles To Process Unaccompanied Minors At The Border




Dareli Matamoros, a girl from Honduras, holds a sign asking President Biden to let her in during a migrant demonstration demanding clearer United States migration policies, at San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico on March 2, 2021.
Dareli Matamoros, a girl from Honduras, holds a sign asking President Biden to let her in during a migrant demonstration demanding clearer United States migration policies, at San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico on March 2, 2021.
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images

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In the past two weeks, the number of unaccompanied children being held at the border has tripled, with many being held in Customs and Border Protection custody for longer than the 72-hour limit prescribed by law.

According to reporting in the New Yorker, the Biden team tried to prepare for the arrival of minors in the fall, but then-President Donald Trump’s political appointees at H.H.S. and D.H.S. refused to meet with them, deliberately sabotaging their ability to plan ahead.

An array of factors including natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have led thousands stranded in northern Mexico as they await their hearings and instructions from the administration. In the meantime, immigrants-rights advocates plan to monitor facility conditions and the pace at which unaccompanied children are moved into the care of family sponsors.

John Burnett and Jonathan Ryan join us from their posts near the border to discuss why unaccompanied minors are arriving en masse and what options the government has moving forward. Questions? Call us at (866) 893-5722.

Guests:

John Burnett, NPR southwest correspondent based in Austin, Texas

Jonathan Ryan, CEO of RAICES Texas, a nonprofit that provides free and low-cost legal services for immigrants; he tweets @jonathandryan