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A child walks through tents at a migrant camp on the grounds of the National Institute for Migration near the "El Chaparral" border crossing. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

An internal Department of Homeland Security document leaked to Axios shows that 823 unaccompanied migrant children have been held in border patrol custody for over 10 days — more than a fourfold increase over the past week.

Why this matters: These facilities aren't meant to house kids for more than three days, but the recent surge of children at the southern border has overwhelmed the Biden administration's capacity to handle them.

Details: The maximum amount of time a child is legally supposed to be held in border patrol custody is 72 hours. But as of Saturday, 3,314 unaccompanied children had been in custody longer, with 2,226 for more than five days and 823 for more than 10 days.

  • The document, with figures updated through Saturday, shows how the Biden administration is struggling to manage the volume of child migrants.
  • The trend is accelerating. On last Monday, only 185 migrant children were being held in border patrol custody for more than 10 days.

The big picture: President Biden is telling migrants not to try to cross the border but Biden has chosen not to use an emergency order to turn away kids at the border, as was done under the Trump administration. The surge shows no sign of abating.

  • Analysts cite the policy change and Biden's more welcoming rhetoric to immigrants among various factors driving the surge — along with damaging hurricanes in Central America and general desperation that intensified during a pandemic.
  • Under U.S. law, U.S. Customs and Border Protection must initially receive unaccompanied children until the Department of Health and Human Services indicates there is space to accept them in one of their shelters.

After a recent visit to the border, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted: "Just left the border processing facility. 100s of kids packed into big open rooms. In a corner, I fought back tears as a 13 yr old girl sobbbed [sic] uncontrollably explaining thru a translator how terrified she was, having been separated from her grandmother and without her parents."

  • "For clarification," Murphy added in a follow-up tweet, "kids are no longer separated from their parents at the border (in this case, the girl's parents are in the US). But even though kids can now stay and apply for asylum, if they are traveling w relatives who aren't parents, the relative can't stay."
  • The administration has been hurriedly securing additional facilities, including hotel rooms and temporary sites, to house the growing numbers of migrant children and families.

What they're saying: A Biden administration official tells Axios that the administration has been clear at all levels that CBP facilities are no place for children and that officials are working around the clock to transfer children to HHS shelters or the homes of vetted relatives or sponsors.

Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.