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Migrant children detention still a problem

Young migrants at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility in Texas Associated Press/Photo by Dario Lopez-Mills (file)

Migrant children detention still a problem

Tens of thousands of migrant minors remain in custody nationwide, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The network of facilities includes unlicensed emergency shelters in military installations, stadiums, and convention centers. Five shelters housed more than 1,000 kids, and one facility in Texas held more than 4,500 children on Monday. Advocates are concerned keeping children in mass shelters can lead to abuse and inadequate supervision and care. AP obtained confidential data revealing the Biden administration had around 21,000 migrant children in custody this week, more than double the number from two months ago.

Why so many? After adjusting its policy to accept unaccompanied children at the southern border, the Biden administration is struggling to keep up with a surge in arriving minors. The government has scrambled to open more facilities and speed the process of transferring children to the care of sponsors. The Department of Homeland Security has reported some progress: The average amount of time kids spend in the system decreased from four months last fall to less than a month this spring.

Dig deeper: Read my report in Compassion on the migrant families that remain separated.

Charissa Koh

Charissa is a WORLD reporter who often writes about poverty-fighting and criminal justice. She resides with her family in Atlanta.



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