The number of children held in Custom and Border Patrol facilities – which critics call “jail like” – has dropped precipitously in the last month. CNN reports that there were 954 children in CBP facilities on Wednesday, down from a peak of 5,767 on March 28. That’s a 84% dip.
In recent weeks, the federal government has opened up more than a dozen temporary shelters, which have reduced overcrowding. On Monday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Biden administration is essentially starting from scratch.
“The entire system was gutted,” he said during a briefing at the White House. “It takes time to build out of the depths of cruelty that the administration before us established.”
Federal law requires that minors spend no more than 72 hours at CBP facilities, although officials struggled to comply with that target as they dealt with a massive surge of migrants at the border.
Yet, the situation is improving. According to CNN, “the average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared to 133 hours on March 28, the official said, a nearly 80% reduction in time spent in Border Patrol detention.”
Last week, CNN explained that Biden is also emphasizing family reunification:
The Biden administration is trying to fast-track the process for parents or guardians, many of whom are undocumented, to collect their children while awaiting immigration proceedings and an eventual decision on their status. HHS data shows about 90% of children who have been released went to close relatives, suggesting many have family members in the United States.
On his 100th day in office, CBS News summarized Biden’s immigration policy:
During his first 100 days as president, Mr. Biden halted border wall construction and ended some Trump-era policies, including broad restrictions on green cards. However, Mr. Biden has kept several of his predecessor’s immigration changes, including a historic-low cap on refugees and limits on asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.