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  • Ali Bradley

Unaccompanied children encounters will likely surpass last year's encounters

Across the southern border, the number of children coming across alone has steadily increased since the start of 2021. In May alone, 14,699 unaccompanied minors were encountered by U.S. Border Patrol Agents according to Customs and Border Protection statistics.

Most recently, two brothers in the El Paso Sector, one 4 years old, one 13 years old, crossed wearing shirts with their personal information printed on the front. The personal information that is generally disclosed in these situations is the child's name/age along with the parent's name, phone number and address. The federal agency reports that the children were medically evaluated and given clean clothing after they were abandoned at the border in the rain at night. Border Patrol refers children who do not have a guardian to Health and Human Services (HHS).

Earlier this month in the Del Rio Sector, four children who were not related to each other were discovered on a private ranch beneath a tree. They were carrying a bag with their passports and phone numbers inside. A law enforcement source reports when officers arrived on scene, two adult men ran away from where the children were.

In the Rio Grande Valley Sector in June, more than 100 unaccompanied migrant children were encountered within 2 days according to federal statistics.

In the same sector, border agents encountered five groups comprised of 632 undocumented individuals-- 175 of them were unaccompanied children.

Several border patrol and ICE agents confirm they are no longer doing biometric testing on children under 14 years old. Biometrics include fingerprinting and DNA testing.

Meanwhile, HHS announced this month, the acquisition of a facility in Greensboro, North Carolina to assist with housing unaccompanied minors. Local radio station, WFDD reports The federal government is controlling operations for "housing and education facility." Guilford County Board of Commissioners chairman Skip Alston released a statement praising the move and also reiterating that the facility would serve as a transition site for unaccompanied minors and not a permanent home.

This fiscal year, between October 1st to May 31st, 100,336 unaccompanied children have crossed into the U.S. alone. Last year that number hit 146,925.

When looking at previous years, 33,239 unaccompanied children were encountered in 2020 and 80,634 in 2019.

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