While Border Patrol is supposed to turn over unaccompanied minors to the Department of Health and Human Services after a maximum of 72 hours, the agencies have not had the capacity to keep everything moving in a timely fashion. Secretary Mayorkas recently said that Border Patrol is on track to encounter more migrants at the border than it has in the past 20 years.
The Biden administration is struggling to find housing for unaccompanied minors as the administration deals with an increase in migrants coming to the United States that is higher than in all but four months of the Trump administration’s presidency. As a result, it is in the process of planning to use a Dallas convention center to house up to 3,000 unaccompanied migrant teens for the next 90 days. Unaccompanied migrant youth are supposed to be held by Border Patrol for no more than three days, and the hope with expanded housing is that it will help manage the increase at the border.
Secretary Mayorkas testified on Capitol Hill this week for the first time since his confirmation hearing, pushing back on lawmakers who asked him if the increase in unaccompanied minors at the border qualifies as a crisis.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, along with other Republican lawmakers, are repeating an old, misleading claim that Middle Eastern terrorists are coming across the U.S.-Mexico border. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sent Vox a statement on Tuesday saying, “Our border security efforts are layered and include multiple levels of rigorous screening that allow us to detect and prevent people who pose national security or public safety risks from entering the United States,” and that “encounters of known and suspected terrorists at our borders are very uncommon.” The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database does stop more than 3,700 people from flying into the US on a given year.