The federal government expects a record surge of up to 161,000 unaccompanied minors to flood the US-Mexico border this year, according to a leaked report.
“DHS projections call for approximately 148,000 and 161,000 [unaccompanied children] referrals to [Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement] this year,” according to an Interior Department projection obtained by the Washington Examiner.
The report, dated January 2022, warned of “monthly projections exceeding those seen in FY 2021” — when a record-shattering 147,000 migrant children entered the US alone, without a parent or family member.
US Customs and Border Patrol agents picked up more than 101,000 unaccompanied minors between October 2021 and May of this year, according to agency tallies — with four months still to go in the fiscal year ending September 30.
The month-by-month totals in six out of those eight months have far exceeded the record numbers seen in the previous year.
Most children who arrive alone at the border and enter the US illegally are shielded from deportation under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. They typically remain at HHS shelters until officials find an adult — usually a relative — in the US to take charge of their care.
But the law has encouraged families to send kids on the dangerous journey alone, critics say, and has forced the Biden administration to scramble to safely house them.
Biden was accused of hypocrisy when his administration reopened emergency housing facilities for migrant teens in early 2021, with some likening it to putting “kids in cages” — a policy he had denounced during the 2020 presidential campaign.
Biden came to office pledging to roll back President Trump’s tough border policies, which led to a plunge in illegal crossings during his term in office.