WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Immigration experts told Congress on Tuesday the situation and conditions for unaccompanied migrant children at the southern border are improving.
Congresswoman Nanette Barragan (D-CA) said there’s a reason migrant children are coming to the United States.
“Northern triangle countries suffer from unspeakable violence, corruption and poverty,” she said.
Vice President Kamala Harris is leading the U.S. effort to improve the situation at the southern border. One change is children can now apply for asylum from their home countries.
Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) said the Biden administration’s policies are making the problem worse.
“The suspension of wall system construction was a major — a major — error,” said Higgins. “These circumstances have invited this activity to our border.”
But Aaron Reichlin Melnick from the American Immigration Council said the situation at the border is starting to improve.
“The number of children in border patrol custody has dropped 80% since late March,” said Melnick. “As of this morning, the number of children in border patrol custody is below 48 hours.”
By law, migrant children must be moved out of U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody in 72 hours and the Biden administration is now meeting that requirement because of the network of emergency shelters it has opened around the country. But advocates warn those shelters are not permanent solutions.
“Thankfully here as well the Biden administration’s efforts have begun to pay off. Last Thursday for the first time since reporting began, more children left U.S. custody than entered,” said Melnick.