Biden’s immigration policy and stance have encouraged unending migration through the southern border. According to Neha Desai, a lawyer for the National Center for Youth Law, more than 1,800 children were detained at the Customs and Border Protection holding facility in Donna, Texas, as of March 2. This is 729 percent of its pandemic capacity.
The facility is designed only to hold 250 people. The resulting overcrowded living conditions are terrible, especially for the boys housed there.
“Some of the boys said that conditions were so overcrowded that they had to take turns sleeping on the floor… They all said they wanted to shower more and were told they couldn’t… One of them shared that he could only see the sun when he showered because you can see the sun through the window… It is deeply concerning to see young children in facilities for days on end, unable to take a shower, call their families or see the sunlight,” Desai told CBS.
Leecia Welch, senior director and lawyer at the National Center for Youth Law, warned that the Donna facility’s situation was quickly turning into a “humanitarian crisis.” Border authorities calculate that the number of unaccompanied minor migrants could climb to 13,000 in May, compounding the situation at Donna and other facilities.
February registered the most migrants under the Unaccompanied Alien Child program, with almost 9,500 children taken into custody that month, a 21-month high number. Some media have compared migrant holding facilities to jails.
Politicians express concern, alarm
Republican Representative John Katko said that people on the government watchlist for terrorism are beginning to exploit the southern border and warned the administration to “wake up” before things get even more difficult.
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham also warned about such activities, blaming Biden for easing immigration controls and encouraging people to come into the United States.
House Minority Whip Republican Steve Scalise said that “super-spreader caravans” are crossing the border, thus putting American people at risk. He asked President Biden to reverse his policies on immigration.
Democrats are also raising the alarm about the border situation. Foremost among them is Representative Henry Cuellar from Texas, who stated that the Biden administration’s messaging about immigration must change. He pointed out that the migrant situation combined with the pandemic could soon result in a humanitarian crisis.
Republican Representative Tom McClintock, a ranking member on the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, has written a letter to subcommittee Chair Democrat Zoe Lofgren, asking to hold a hearing on the border crisis down south.
“Proper oversight of the Biden border crisis requires that Subcommittee Members have the opportunity to hear directly from officials from the Biden Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services, and to question them about the escalating crisis and whether they have plans to stop the surge,” McClintock said in the letter.
Losing public support
Meanwhile, the Biden administration seems to be quickly losing public support regarding immigration. A survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that almost three-quarters of respondents were concerned about the government’s ability to handle the migrant crisis while also maintaining coronavirus health protocols.
51 percent of the survey participants expressed strong opposition to the proposal of offering lifetime work permits and a citizenship path to almost five million immigrants. The opposition was stronger among Republicans at 72 percent and lower among Democrats at around 27 percent.