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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden is preparing for his own crisis at the U.S. border, with 5,000 migrant children and counting: The number of unaccompanied minors trying to cross is rising while coronavirus distancing requirements have cut by half the number of useable beds in government shelters.

Driving the news: Two administration officials tell Axios plans are underway to open an overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas, which could house another 700 children in its main building under COVID-19 precautions.

  • This comes as Biden is set to unveil his own immigration and border policies this week, beginning Tuesday, and undo much of his predecessor's hardline approach.

Why it matters: The Trump administration was lambasted for its extended use of the temporary shelters and so-called "tent cities" when holding facilities were overwhelmed during the migrant crisis in 2019. Biden's rhetoric and intentions differ, but that doesn't change his challenge: when apprehensions rise and space runs out, the options are limited.

  • Temporary shelters are controversial because they aren't subject to the same state licensing and monitoring of the long-term facilities, experts say.
  • The Texas site can accommodate tent-like facilities in case of a surge. The senior official said children at the influx shelter will receive education, medical and mental health care and all of the other services that they would in other shelters.

Details: By law, border officials have only 72 hours to transfer migrant children to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelters, which can be difficult when numbers surge. One official said in anticipation of that scenario, HHS will notify Congress it intends to use Carrizo Springs.

  • There are currently about 5,000 children in HHS' care.
  • The number is still safely below normal capacity — and far below the 2019 crisis levels when the monthly, average shelter population reached 14,000. But it's about twice the number compared to late November.
  • Meanwhile, coronavirus precautions have cut the available beds by about half.
  • Sunday, there were 260 referrals of children to shelters, according to one internal report reviewed by Axios. That’s not far off the 294 average at the peak of the child migrant crisis in June 2019, according to public agency data.

Biden's team may face added scrutiny because of the Trump administration's handling of child immigration issues. One administration source told Axios, "The new leadership is so afraid of making any decision because of optics."

Flashback: In November, a court order blocked border officials under the Trump administration from using an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to quickly expel migrant kids who cross the border.

  • The uptick in child migrants is at least partly due to the impact that order had.

What's next: Despite a Friday court ruling that would allow the Biden administration to revert to fast-track expulsions of migrant children begun under Trump, a senior administration official said there are no plans to do so.

Go deeper

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

The Olympic events to watch today

U.S. diver Krysten Palmer. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

5 events to watch today...
  • 🏃 Track & Field: Watch the men’s 100m final at 8:50 a.m. ET on nbcolympics.com
  • 🏐 Men’s volleyball: USA plays Argentina in the group stage at 8:45 a.m. on NBC.
  • 🤸 Gymnastics event finals: Watch the replay of the men's floor exercise and pommel horse, as well as the women's vault and uneven bars starting at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
  • 🤽Men's water polo: USA takes on Greece in group play at 10:30 p.m. ET on CNBC.
  • 🏊Women's springboard final: Watch the replay tonight on NBC.

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

Team USA's Ryan Murphy, Zach Apple, Michael Andrew and Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning gold in the final of the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Aug. 1. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Day nine of the Tokyo Olympic Games Sunday saw the final day of swimming competition end with a historic win for Team USA.

The big picture: The U.S. men's 4x100-meter medley relay team set a new record world as they won the final and Caeleb Dressel earned a fifth gold — becoming the fifth American to do so. Team USA's Bobby Finke won the 1,500-meter freestyle.