Biden moves to relieve strain of child border crossings

The Biden administration hopes to relieve the strain of thousands of unaccompanied children coming to the southern border by terminating a 2018 Trump-era order that discouraged potential family sponsors from coming forward to house the children

Via AP news wire
Friday 12 March 2021 17:09
Biden
Biden

The Biden administration hopes to relieve the strain of thousands of unaccompanied children coming to the southern border by ending a Trump-era order that discouraged potential family sponsors from coming forward to care for them.

The 2018 policy called on Health and Human Services to share information about family sponsors with immigration authorities, a move that discouraged parents and other relatives from stepping forward out of fear they would be deported.

A senior administration official said Friday the Department of Health and Human Services was not a law enforcement agency and that the goal of Friday's announcement was to encourage family members and other sponsors to step forward. It comes as U.S. authorities saw a 60% increase in children crossing the southwest border alone between January and February to more than 9,400. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Much of the policy has already been chipped away at through lawsuits and other directives, but administration officials said its full repeal sends a more forceful message. Government-funded facilities have been constrained because the coronavirus has limited how many beds are available, while the number of children crossing the border has overwhelmed the processing system. Officials say children are staying an average of 37 days at Health and Human Services-sponsored facilities.

The move is another step to repeal policies of former President Donald Trump that discouraged people from seeking refuge in the U.S. after it became the world's most popular destination for asylum-seekers in 2017. Most notably, the Biden administration is unwinding a policy that made asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for court hearings in the United States, About 1,000 people with active cases have been admitted to the U.S. to await the outcome of their claims, with 25,000 or so eligible to come in the coming months.

Earlier this week, the administration announced it was resuming a program that Trump ended that makes it easier for Central American children to join their parents in the United States. Under the Central American minors policy, children can apply for legal status in the United States in their own countries instead of making the dangerous journey to the U.S. border with Mexico.

___

Spagat reported from San Diego.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in