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Families at Paso Del Norte in Mexico at the southern border. Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images

Thirty-seven migrant children were left in two vans overnight as they waited to be reunited with their families at Port Isabel Detention Center, Texas, last July, NBC News reported on Monday.

What they're saying: Andrew Carter, the BCFS Heath and Human Services director charged with transporting the children, aged 5–12, said in an email they'd spent 8 hours without being processed, per NBC. They were twice taken to the center and then back to the van; first because of a paperwork issue and then "because it was too cold in the facility and they were still not ready to be processed," Carter said, according to NBC.

Details: The first child was reunited with their family 11 hours after arriving to be processed on July 15, according to the report. "Not until 39 hours later — after two nights in a van — did the last child step out of a van to be reunited," NBC says. "Most spent at least 23 hours in the vehicles."

  • Carter's emails to company president and CEO Kevin Dinnin led to Health and Human Services reps phoning Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in the middle of the night to try to resolve the situation, according to the outlet, citing a BCFS rep and a former HHS official with knowledge of the incident.
"DHS was clearly not ready to deal with the separations and did not take steps necessary to ensure a speedy reunification with their parents."
— Unnamed official to NBC news

The big picture: An ICE spokesperson told the news outlet the children's experience was "unusual."

  • "Since then, no child has spent more than a few hours waiting to be reunited with their parents," the spokesperson said.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has struggled to provide shelter and find homes for a record number of migrant children in its custody. Authorities have stopped almost 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children illegally crossing the border in just the 2 months, Axios' Stef Knight notes.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 4 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.