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'We're not keeping up': Biden administration scrambles to house children crossing the US-Mexico border alone

March 2, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 19.7%. 1 min read.

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 08: Asylum seekers from El Salvador wait at a bus station after they were released from U.S. immigration authorities on February 08, 2021 in Brownsville, Texas. Since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, increased numbers of asylum seekers, most from Central America, have begun crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, and immigration authorities have been releasing them to stay in the U.S. pending court hearings. The new policy is a reversal of former President Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy, where immigrants had to wait in Mexico during the legal asylum process. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

There's a dramatic increase in the number of families and unaccompanied children crossing the US-Mexico border alone.

(CNN)The Biden administration is racing to find space for the growing number of families and unaccompanied children crossing the US-Mexico border alone, which may include opening more temporary facilities and providing federal funding for Covid-19 testing.

"We're not keeping up," said a Department of Health and Human Services official, referring to the department's capacity to care for unaccompanied migrant children.

"Unaccompanied children are increasing across the board," said a senior Customs and Border Protection official.

To expedite the process, the Department of Homeland Security is exploring placing HHS personnel in Border Patrol stations to immediately kick off the placement process and determine whether a child has a relative in the US, Mayorkas said Monday, calling it a "reengineering" of the process.

A senior CBP official, who supports the proposed plan, said having HHS personnel at facilities could help diminish the lag time in communicating between agencies and speed up the process of moving children out of Border Patrol custody.

"[We're] making sure that we are implementing good public health policy but not in a way that goes in excess and then puts kids more at risk for Covid-19 and other child welfare concerns at Border Patrol stations," the HHS official said.

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