Feds adding new space next to overcrowded border facility
The Biden administration is opening a temporary facility for unaccompanied migrant children next to the Texas border patrol processing center where leaked photos and videos have revealed overcrowded holding areas.
Why it matters: The new facility in Donna, Texas, will allow the administration to release kids from border patrol custody faster — even while they remain in a temporary setting on land owned by Customs and Border Protection.
- The new unit is called Delphi and will be overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services.
- The administration has been focused on getting minors out of border stations and into HHS supervision as soon as possible.
- The Rio Grande Valley sector, which includes Donna, has been receiving some of the largest numbers of migrants over the past few months.
Between the lines: Border officials told Republican members of Congress and a handful of staffers about the new facility during a tour of Donna‘s temporary tent-like structures on Tuesday morning.
- The officials said they were sending more than 300 migrant minors to the new facility on Tuesday — the first day it was open, according to two people who were briefed.
- From one parking area of the border station, construction work could be seen through a fence.
- The facility will be able to hold as many as 1,500 13- to 17-year-old boys and girls, HHS said in a statement provided to Axios. Minors will be tested for COVID-19 before and during their stay at Delphi, according to an HHS fact sheet.
By the numbers: The administration has managed to get the total number of kids waiting in border patrol custody under 5,000, according to the most recent agency data.
- Still, pods in the Donna facility intended to hold around 48 migrants are now holding more than 300 — and in one, more than 500 — according to people on the tour who were briefed on the numbers.
- An average of around 500 non-Mexican minors have been crossing the border every day over the last month.