DHS chief: "The border is closed" but U.S. will not expel children
The Department of Homeland Security is working to expel migrant families and single adults attempting to cross the southern border, but will not turn away children, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
Why it matters: An overwhelming number of kids are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with their parents or legal guardians, as the Biden administration faces a humanitarian crisis that appears to be straining government resources.
- Last month saw a 28% increase in attempted border crossings, Customs and Border Protection senior official Troy Miller told reporters earlier in March.
- The Biden administration has awarded an $86 million contract for hotel rooms near the border to hold around 1,200 migrant family members, Axios scooped.
- The Centers for Disease Control recently allowed shelters handling child migrants to expand to full capacity to handle the surge. Customs and Border Protection currently has more than 5,000 unaccompanied children in its custody, according to agency documents reviewed by CNN.
What he's saying: "The border is closed. We are expelling families, we are expelling single adults, and we've made a decision that we will not expel young, vulnerable children," Mayorkas said.
- As officials in the Biden administration have frequently done, Mayorkas blamed policies created under Trump as a root cause for the border crisis, saying: "He dismantled the Central American minor's program, so we are rebuilding those orderly and safe processes as quickly as possible."
- "We are focused on our operations in removing children from those crowded Border Patrol stations to the Health and Human Services facilities that can best shelter them," referencing heightened health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.