The photo, which shows a mother and two children, whom authorities transported from the Rio Grande Valley sector to El Paso, comes after Biden Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited the El Paso facility on Friday with a bipartisan group of senators.
“Currently, we are experiencing a high number of encounters in the West Texas/New Mexico region. These encounters include families and unaccompanied children,” CBP Chief Gloria Chavez of the El Paso Sector told Fox News in a statement on the current situation there. “The highest population for the El Paso Sector is unaccompanied children with a 96% increase compared to February” 2020, year-to-date.
Border agents have encountered more than 3,300 undocumented, unaccompanied children in the El Paso region this fiscal year. There has been a 64% nationwide increase in the number of migrant children coming into the U.S., Fox 40 Sacramento reported.
There were 30,077 border apprehensions in February 2020. In February this year, CBP encountered 100,441 migrants at the southern border — a 28% increase compared to January 2021 — and carried out 72,113 expulsions. The number of encounters at the border has been increasing since April 2020, according to CBP.
One migrant who spoke to Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins on Friday said the flow of migrants coming to the border was “not going to stop, ever.”
CBP cannot expel children under U.S. law, so they are temporarily held at facilities like the one in Northeast El Paso, which has a capacity of 1,040 migrants. The El Paso facility and others at the southern border are stretching to their max, creating crowded conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic as the Biden administration works to find more space and resources for those coming to the border.
“The recent surge of unaccompanied children in addition to family units is beginning to impact our capacity,” Chavez said. “We are working closely with Health and Human Services [HHS]/Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for the placement of children as CBP’s ability to move children out of its care is directly tied to available space at HHS ORR.”