Report: Number of unaccompanied migrant children at CBP facilities drops, daily apprehensions persist

Immigration

A young migrant waits for his turn to take a shower at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, Pool)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The number of unaccompanied migrant children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities is down significantly from last month, but daily apprehensions remain consistent.

On Thursday, CNN reported that there were 5,767 children in CBP facility care on March 28 compared with 954 on Wednesday — an 84 percent decrease.

CNN reports the decline is due to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to set up temporary shelters across the country to house unaccompanied migrant children, while the Office of Refugee Resettlement tries to find family or U.S.-based sponsors with whom to connect them. 

The latest HHS data also shows 22,538 unaccompanied children in HHS custody as of Wednesday.

The White House says the duration of children’s stays at CBP facilities is also declining. 

“The average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared to 133 hours on March 28, the official said, a nearly 80% reduction in time spent in Border Patrol detention,” a White House official told CNN.

The volume of unaccompanied minors in CBP custody is down compared to the 30-day average of 3,040. 

DHS reports from this week show that the number of children in custody declined over the course of four days.

On Monday, reports indicate that there were 1,135 children in CBP custody. By Tuesday, the number declined to 1,027 and was at 954 by Wednesday. 

Daily apprehension rates, however, remain fairly consistent with the 30-day average of 447.

On Monday, CBP apprehended 392 unaccompanied migrant children who were placed into CBP custody; 459 on Tuesday; and 472 on Wednesday.

The CBP facilities are not intended to hold children long-term and the agency puts kids at the front of their lines for processing. 

“The women and men of the United States Border Patrol do everything they can to take care of unaccompanied children in their care before these children can be transferred to HHS. Our goal is to ensure that CBP has the continued capability to quickly and efficiently transfer unaccompanied minors after they are apprehended to HHS custody, as is required by U.S. law, and as is clearly in the best interest of the children,” writes DHS in a statement to KTSM.

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