The Biden administration has deported hundreds of unaccompanied migrant minors from Mexico while taking children from Central America into federal custody and matching them with sponsors, the Border Report reported Tuesday.
U.S. officials returned over 660 unaccompanied minors from Mexico in the first three months of 2021, according to Mexican officials, the Border Report reported. Deported Mexican minors were taken to Nohemi Alvarez Quillay children’s shelter in Juarez, Mexico, until they could be reunited with family members.
“Unaccompanied minors are turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. We don’t expel minors under Title 42,” Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson Landon Hutchens said, according to the Border Report.
Title 42 is a public health order implemented by the Trump administration to rapidly expel migrants citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration lifted the requirement for unaccompanied migrant minors, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
“But in the case of Mexican unaccompanied minors, they receive an interview by their consulate and their return to Mexico is coordinated with INM (Mexico’s National Migration Institute),” Hutchens said, according to the Border Report.
At the moment, unaccompanied children (apart from unaccompanied Mexican children) are the only population that stand a 100 percent chance of being released into the United States to start an asylum process while living with relatives.
— WOLA (@WOLA_org) April 27, 2021
Most of the unaccompanied Mexican children removed were from Guerrero, Chiapas, Veracruz, Puebla or Oaxaca, though some of the minors told U.S. officials they were from the country despite origins in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, according to the Border Report.
All unaccompanied migrant minors are taken to Border Patrol processing facilities where they are medically screened and where agents attempt to collect biographical information such as name, age and country of origin from them, Hutchens told the Border Report.
“If they’re Mexican nationals, their Consul General’s Office has the opportunity to talk to them and that’s when those decisions [repatriation] are made in conjunction with the Mexican government,” Hutchens said, according to the Border Report. “They’re Mexican nationals going back to their own country.”
Neither CBP or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) track how many unaccompanied migrant minors from Mexico the agencies interact with, Hutchens told the Border Report. (RELATED: Why Are Illegal Migrants Exposing Their Children To The Dangers Of Being Smuggled Into The US?)
CBP officials encountered over 172,000 migrants in March including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors, according to the agency. Some 22,195 unaccompanied children were in HHS care while another 683 were in CBP custody as of Monday.
The number of unaccompanied children in HHS custody nearly doubled from March to April, the DCNF reported. The Biden administration has focused on decreasing the amount of time unaccompanied minors spend in CBP custody by transferring them to HHS shelters where employees work to match them with sponsors in the interior of the U.S.
CBP did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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