Today the NY Times ran a story on page 17 confirming that migrant children are currently living in conditions that, back in 2019, were denounced by Democrats as everything from “kids in cages” to “concentration camps.” Here we are again:
Migrant children are being forced to sleep on gym mats with foil sheets and go for days without showering as the Border Patrol struggles to handle thousands of young Central Americans who are surging across the southwestern border, some of them as young as a year old.
Children are arriving in groups and alone, some of them clutching phone numbers of relatives scrawled on little pieces of paper, according to two court-appointed lawyers who are monitoring conditions at facilities along the border. Many of the children interviewed by the lawyers in recent days said they had not been allowed outdoors for days on end, confined to an overcrowded tent.
Current law allows the CPB to hold children in these facilities for up to 72 hours but because of the surge, many are staying much longer than that. Immigration attorneys were allowed to interview about 20 children staying at one facility in Texas but the attorneys were not allowed inside. The Biden administration is doing its best to make sure there are no pictures of the conditions showing up in newspapers, but the interviews revealed what it’s like.
Some of the children told the visiting lawyers that there were not enough mats available for sleeping, forcing some of them to sleep directly on the ground or on a metal bench. Many said they had been confined to their crowded room for the duration of their stay…
“One child told me that she hadn’t showered in six days, others said two and others three,” Ms. Welch said. “Obviously, the border authorities are overwhelmed with the numbers.”
She said that most of the children interviewed, who ranged in age from 8 to 13 years, said they had been in the tent for five to seven days, in violation of acceptable practice designed to safeguard their well-being.
All of this is happening because the Biden administration decided it would allow unaccompanied minors to enter the country. In the short term that’s arguably more humane that letting them stay in tent camps on the Mexican side of the border. Unfortunately, this is not a short term problem. The NY Times gets around to saying that CBP expects a record-breaking number of children to show up this spring as the weather improves. By announcing that the border is open to kids clutching phone numbers, Biden has opened the flood gates. Even as his official message is that the border is closed, the real message being delivered to parents and smugglers in Central America is going to be send your children.
Here’s another thing which I’d bet is true but which I don’t see anyone saying in print or on TV. Some of these young kids, especially the ones under 10, did not travel 1,000 miles from Central America on their own. Some of them came here with their parents but are now being sent across the border alone because word has gone out that they can get in if they cross alone. In other words, there is almost certainly some child separation happening at the border but no one is going to talk about it because it can’t be blamed on Republicans.
MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff made his career writing and talking about “kids in cages.” Yesterday Soboroff explained that it’s frustrating for him watching Republicans (who control neither the White House nor any chamber of congress) do nothing to fix the problem the Biden administration has created at the border. Just listen to this hackery.
"It's been frustrating as a reporter who covers this to watch Republicans go down there and talk about the so called Biden border crisis, use the children as political pawns… and advocating literally, absolutely nothing" – @jacobsoboroff w/ @NicolleDWallace pic.twitter.com/2CooUvltSF
— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) March 15, 2021
By the way, the Biden administration is still expelling thousands of adults who arrive at the border exactly as the Trump administration was doing. No one in the media is complaining about the treatment of the adults right now. The child crisis is bad enough and they don’t want to pile on.
Today, HHS Sec. Mayorkas issued a lengthy statement about the crisis at the border. Jazz will have more on that shortly. But here’s a brief excerpt:
We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years. We are expelling most single adults and families. We are not expelling unaccompanied children…
The majority of those apprehended at the southwest border are single adults who are currently being expelled under the CDC’s authority to manage the public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic…
We are encountering many unaccompanied children at our southwest border every day. A child who is under the age of 18 and not accompanied by their parent or legal guardian is considered under the law to be an unaccompanied child. We are encountering six- and seven-year-old children, for example, arriving at our border without an adult. They are vulnerable children and we have ended the prior administration’s practice of expelling them.
Send your children, but send them alone. That’s the message that is going out right now from the U.S. border. It’s astounding that no one in the Biden administration or at MSNBC or the NY Times seems able to predict the kind of humanitarian disaster this message is likely to create in the coming months.