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Children and workers at a tent encampment near the Tornillo Port of Entry in Tornillo, Texas. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

New data obtained by the New York Times reveals that 12,800 migrant children are under federal detention as of this month — in contrast to the approximately 2,400 children in custody of May of last year — marking the highest record ever documented.

Key finding: The spike is in response to a drop in the number of children being released to stay with relatives and other sponsors, some of whom are discouraged from coming forward to sponsor children amid strict immigration enforcement, per the Times. The data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services also shows that the increase is not due to the influx of children crossing the border.

The details: The revelation comes a day after HHS said it plans to triple the size of an immigration detention camp outside El Paso to accommodate up to 3,800 migrant children by the end of this year. But Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for HHS, reportedly said the expansion comes as a result of the growing number of new arrivals at the border.

  • Meanwhile, the new data reveals that the placement process has slowed, per the Times. But federal officials said the vetting system is designed to safeguard the children in their care.

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

9 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 9 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."