Jun 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. to close four emergency facilities for migrant children

 A migrant child plays in a courtyard at the Holding Institute shelter in Laredo, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, May 15

A migrant child at the Holding Institute shelter in Laredo, Texas, in May. Photo: Jonathan Alpeyrie/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration will shut four emergency shelters housing record numbers of unaccompanied migrant children, as more minors arrive at the southern border, an official during a court hearing Tuesday, per AP.

What's happening: The Department of Health and Human Services plans to close two shelters in Texas and stop housing the children at two California convention centers in California by early August, Aurora Miranda-Maese, juvenile coordinator for the agency’s office of refugee resettlement, said at the hearing on custody conditions for minors, according to AP.

  • Miranda-Maese said more children are being sent to relatives in the U.S. or "state-licensed shelters" with a higher care standard.

The big picture: The Biden administration opened emergency facilities last spring to provide shelter for thousands of migrant children arriving from Mexico.

  • U.S. officials have seen a decline in the number of children housed in emergency facilities in recent days, including a drop of more than 40% at the Fort Bliss facility, near El Paso, Texas.
  • Miranda-Maese noted at the federal court hearing in Los Angeles that Health and Human Services was caring for some 15,000 children, with fewer than 3,000 in emergency facilities, but there had been a rise in arrivals at the border in the past week, AP reports.
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