Feds alarmed at number of unaccompanied children arriving at border

On Thursday, a senior Health and Human Services Department official briefed Capitol Hill staff about the capacity challenges facing the department, which is charged with the care of migrant children, according to a congressional aide. Jallyn Sualog, acting director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, shared concern over the uptick in children and limited space, noting that bed capacity is hovering around 90%, according to an aide.

The issues facing the department are exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has required shelters to draw down their capacity to account for Covid-19 precautions.

On Thursday, there were more than 1,200 unaccompanied children in Customs and Border Protection custody across the southwest border, according to a Department of Homeland Security official, who cautioned that the number constantly fluctuates. More than 100 children have been in custody for more than 72 hours, according to the official and a source with knowledge of the situation. The majority of children are over 10 years old, the source said.