Children enter unaccompanied at border crisis

Children enter unaccompanied at border crisis

Jazmin Velenczei, Web Editor

Children enter unaccompanied at border crisis

By Jazmin Velenczei

Web Editor


As resources are strained due to the pandemic, there are 5,000 children unaccompanied in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. President Joe Biden is not the first president, facing a growing number of immigrants at the US-Mexico border, as migration flows are very common due to the increased number of Latin Americans wanting to enter the country with the hope of finding better opportunities for their families. 


It is difficult to compare today’s situation with those of recent years under the Trump Administration since the circumstances were drastically different. As a result of the pandemic, the border was closed as well as crossings were delayed, yet now that life has started to return back to normal gradually- as states start to reopen and more people are getting vaccinated- migration increases again. 


What is different this year under the Biden Administration is that unaccompanied children are not being expelled. In February, roughly 97,000 crossed the border illegally, of which 70,000 were turned back immediately, mostly single adults and some families, whereas unaccompanied children are taken into the US and transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, which are required to take care of them. Although the southern border is not quite open, data shows that the increase in unaccompanied children arriving at the border has not yet peaked, since typical peaks are usually in the summer months which suggests that more children will arrive in the coming months. 


In addition to turning away migrants during the pandemic, two hurricanes have hit Latin America recently, which also spikes migration, since the destruction that the hurricanes caused is expected to worsen income inequality and poverty in the region. Furthermore, the previous administration had pushed non-Mexican asylum seekers back to Mexico until their court dates which left many in poor conditions in the country of Mexico. 


As the southern border sees a surge in migrants, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the new administration urges people not to come to the US, hence this is not the right time for them to cross due to the pandemic, yet unaccompanied children will not be sent back due to “human manner.” She also stated that President Biden hopes to work with Congress to address these root causes of immigration, thus the surges in migrants will not continue.


On March 26, the first death of a child, in the new surge, was reported by federal authorities. The 9-year-old girl had drowned while crossing the Rio Grande, the river that separates the United States from Mexico. U.S Border Patrol agents, responding to a rescue call, found a mother (Guatemalan) and her two children (Mexican nationals) unconscious on an island in the river and transferred the oldest child to emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, whose life, unfortunately, could not be saved.