WASHINGTON (AP) — A surge of migrants on the Southwest border has the Biden administration on the defensive, with the head of Homeland Security acknowledging the depth of the problem but insisting it’s under control and saying he won’t revive a Trump-era practice of immediately expelling teens and children.
The number of migrants being stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border has been rising since last April, and the administration is still rapidly expelling most single adults and families under a public health order issued by President Donald Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is allowing teens and children to stay, at least temporarily, and they have been coming in ever larger numbers.
More than 4,000 migrant children were being held by the Border Patrol as of Sunday, including at least 3,000 in custody longer than the 72-hour limit set by a court order, according to a U.S. official. The agency took in an additional 561 on Monday, twice the recent average, according to a second official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss figures not yet publicly released.