Migrant children in Dallas were held on buses for multiple days before being transferred to their sponsors
While the administration has had success in recent months at reducing the number of unaccompanied children held in U.S. government custody, there are still around 20,000 children housed by HHS with approximately 13,000 reportedly held in unlicensed emergency shelters. In recent weeks, advocates have raised concerns about the conditions in these shelters, and reports came out this week that children were held for days on buses in Dallas prior to their transfer out of HHS custody. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated on Friday that “there’s no excuse for this type of treatment” and it would be thoroughly investigated.
ACLU continued their pause on Title 42 lawsuit
The ACLU sued the Trump administration last year, alleging that Title 42 expulsions are unlawful and the lawsuit is still pending. President Biden has continued the Title 42 policy, but the two parties have agreed to a temporary pause on litigation until May 25th. The Biden administration has indicated plans to work with nonprofit organizations to identify “particularly vulnerable individuals who warrant humanitarian exceptions under the order,” according to DHS spokesperson Sarah Peck.
Title 42 continues to create confusion for asylum seekers at the border as families face wildly varying outcomes: some are allowed to enter the country and pursue their asylum claims, but others are turned away. In regions of the southwest border where the Mexican authorities refuse to take back expelled migrants, CBP placed some families on planes to other cities to be expelled to Mexican states less likely to reject them. This prompted many parents to make the agonizing decision to send their children across the border alone, as the only clear exceptions to Title 42 expulsion are for unaccompanied children. Since President Biden took office, Border Patrol has encountered more than 2,100 migrant children who crossed the border alone after being expelled to Mexico with their families under Title 42.
This week, CBP announced that they had stopped flying families across the country to be expelled, but there are still reports of families being moved by bus for the same purpose. These expulsions expose families to great danger. Human Rights Watch has reported that since President Biden was inaugurated, there have been 492 cases of kidnappings and other attacks on migrants after they were turned back to Mexico.
CBP released April data showing a slight increase in total apprehensions, but a decrease in the number of families and unaccompanied children
The number of “southwest land border encounters” increased by 3.7% since March as CBP reported 178,622 total encounters. The largest demographic apprehended at the border was single adults, who accounted for 62% of the total. The true number of individuals represented in these numbers is difficult to determine, as CBP reported that 40% of these “apprehensions” were repeat crossers.
Meanwhile, the number of family unit members and accompanied minors dropped a bit since March to 50,150, making up 28% of total apprehensions. The number of unaccompanied children arriving at the southwest border dropped by 9% to 17,171.
The outcomes for individuals arriving at the border continued to vary greatly. While 85% of single adults were expelled under Title 42, the rate of expulsion among families was 35%. The outcomes among family unit members also varied greatly depending on their country of origin. While 47% of those from Northern Triangle countries were expelled, only 5% of those categorized “other” -- i.e. not from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras -- were subject to Title 42. It’s likely that the variance in outcomes is due to Mexico’s policy of refusing to accept families who have been turned back.