August 17, 2022

The number of unaccompanied foreign children (UAC) crossing the border illegally since February 2021 stands at 243,850. In fiscal year 2020 under the previous administration, 34,126 UACs were encountered. The increase resulted in taxpayer costs exceeding $6 billion in 2021 alone.

On average, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 350 UACs are arrested per day by Customs and Border Protection, including Border Patrol. HHS assumes custody of UACs from countries other than Mexico to locate sponsors within the United States. Then, HHS releases the minors pending a final decision on their immigration issues. According to HHS, the average 30-day release is 368 per day.

In fiscal year 2021, more than 127,000 free user accounts were transferred to HHS. According to the Congressional Research Service ReportFunding for unaccompanied foreign children for 2021 was initially provided in the amount of $1.3 billion. The report notes that HHS diverted nearly $2.1 billion from other health-related initiatives to cover the cost of the UAC boom during the year.

According to the report, the redirected funds included $850 million aimed at rebuilding the Strategic National Stockpile, $850 million earmarked for COVID-19 testing, and $436 million earmarked for multiple health initiatives at HHS. In addition, the Biden administration reportedly estimated in May 2021 that it would need an additional $4 billion before the end of fiscal 2021 to fund shelters and provide reunification services to locate childminders. An accurate account of total spending has not been released by HHS.

Although unaccompanied migrant children are expected to attend subsequent immigration procedures, the report notes that the vast majority do not. Of the more than 41,000 cases adjudicated between 2017 and 2021, a fraction of all referrals to HHS resulted in 2,538 cases of removal orders. Of the total, more than 19,000 orders were in absentia.

The sudden increase in the number of unaccompanied migrant children began when President Biden took office after making immediate changes to border enforcement policies. Almost immediately, the Biden administration stopped expelling children under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Order 42.

Which once led to the almost immediate expulsion of most UACs to Mexico discouraged most attempts to cross the border illegally. According to HHS, in fiscal year 2021, the predominant nationalities of unaccompanied children were from Guatemala (47%), Honduras (32%) and El Salvador (13%). Only 8% of the remaining UACs were from other countries.

During the previous administration, UACs from these three countries were subject to expulsion under CDC emergency order 42.

As Breitbart Texas reports, the boom led to the construction of several facilities across the country to accommodate UACs. The daily cost of unaccompanied migrant children in temporary shelters is more than $750.

As of Wednesday, there are approximately 10,293 unaccompanied migrant children in HHS care. At the end of April 2022, the average length of detention per immigrant child was 28 days.

Randy Clark He is a 32-year-old veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he held the position of Chief of Law Enforcement Operations, managing operations for nine border guard stations within the Del Rio, Texas sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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