Both the number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody and the amount of time they were held dropped by at least 80% since late March
Progress was made on several fronts in getting unaccompanied children transferred out of CBP custody. The number of children in custody on Thursday, April 29th fell to 790, which is down by over 80% since last month. The time that these children were held in custody has also decreased considerably, from a high of 133 hours in March to an average of 28 hours this week.
We also saw the highest number of children released to sponsors since DHS began releasing the numbers in March.
The number of children in HHS-run shelters increased somewhat in the last week, but occupancy seems to be flattening at around 22,000. An additional emergency shelter opened at Pomona Fairplex in LA county on May 1st, which is able to house up to 2,500 children.
Image Source: Adam Isacson, @adam_wola. Accessed on Twitter on May 2, 2021.
Immigration related bills reintroduced in Congress
Two bills of note introduced in the last week in Congress were the Syrian Partner Protection Act and the Families Belong Together Act. The Syrian Partner Protection Act would extend similar benefits to Syrian Kurdish allies that are currently given through the SIV program for those who aided our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. This bill has been presented in previous years, and was reintroduced this week by Representatives Jason Crow and Michael Waltz.
The Families Belong Together Act would offer humanitarian parole into the US for parents of children separated under the Zero Tolerance policy and provide a process for those families to eventually adjust their status to gain lawful permanent residence. This bill was reintroduced in the House by Congressman Joaquin Castro and in the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal.
VP Harris announced plan to send $310 million in humanitarian aid to Central America to address some of the root causes of migration
The Biden administration continues to emphasize their focus on addressing migration at its root, as further shown by Vice President Harris’ commitment to extend aid to some of the main countries of origin for asylum seekers at our southwest border. $255 million of this aid is slated to humanitarian relief and the remaining $55 million is earmarked for addressing food insecurity. This region was hit hard in 2020 not only by the pandemic but also two hurricanes last fall.
ICE announced that they will limit arrests near courthouses
This policy change is intended to address the issue that making arrests near a courthouse could deter people from reporting crimes or testifying in court due to fear of being deported themselves. The Trump administration had expanded and defended such arrests, and this is another example of how the Biden administration is shifting immigration enforcement priorities. The new guidance provides exceptions for situations involving national security or threats to public safety.