Nearly 19,000 children crossing the Mexican-American border alone were detained in March by the US border services, the government’s CBP customs and border agency published on Thursday. This is the highest record of detention of juvenile migrants. The youngest child found by the officers was three years old.
The US government’s US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency released its March 2021 migration statistics from Mexico on Thursday. According to them, US services detained a record number of 18,890 children crossing the border on their own this month. These statistics exceed by over seven thousand the highest balance sheet, which came from May 2019, and by almost 10,000 the result from February this year. The youngest child found by CBP agents was three years old.
One likely cause of the influx is the Joe Biden administration loosening the pandemic rules to return asylum seekers in the US and forcing them to wait for their applications to be processed in Mexico. According to the new regulations, these rules do not apply to minors.
In total, US services detained 168,000 migrants in March, more than half of which were returned to Mexico. Many make multiple attempts to cross the border.
Centers for juvenile migrants overcrowded
The rapid influx of juvenile migrants, mainly from Central America, has led to an extreme overload of infrastructure. These are temporary, makeshift centers where children are referred before they are handed over – most often – to relatives, where they await an asylum decision.
According to the AP agency, four thousand people were gathered in one of such centers, equipped with tents, in Donna, Texas, despite the fact that there are 250 places there, and according to the law, children should not stay there for more than three days. However, this rule is repeatedly broken.
From these centers, migrants are transferred to others, run by the Department of Health and Social Welfare, which had to rent stadiums, halls and military bases in Texas for this purpose, for lack of space.
The number of migrants from Mexico to the US is steadily increasing
Since November, the number of Central American migrants trying to cross the southern border of the United States has been increasing gradually. This growth has been fueled by poor economic conditions in the region, the devastating hurricanes that hit the area last year, and hope among migrants that they will be able to stay in the United States as President Joe Biden reverses Donald Trump’s restrictive policies.
In mid-March, the president Biden appealed to migrantsnot to come to the southern border of the United States. – We are organizing ourselves, do not leave your hometowns – he said.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Luis Torres