Border agents encountered over 9,000 unaccompanied minors in February, a Biden administration official announced Wednesday.
More than 100,000 illegal immigrants including over 19,000 people who were traveling as family units were encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in February, according to Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of the agency.
“Let’s be clear, the border is not open,” Miller said. “Do not believe the human smugglers who tell you otherwise.”
BREAKING: CBS News has learned that the number of unaccompanied migrant children in @CBP custody has nearly tripled in the last 2 weeks.
— Norah O’Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) March 8, 2021
Miller would not say how long unaccompanied minors spend in CBP custody or how many children are currently in the agency’s custody, though he added that the children are prioritized for processing to be placed at Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities.
“While we can’t provide numbers on children in custody and how long they’ve been in custody, I just want to be very clear here that Border Patrol stations are not places for children and we do everything in our power to move them through as quickly as we can,” a CBP official said. “Even a few hours in custody is more than we want for children that Border Patrol apprehends at the border.”
Nearly 6,000 unaccompanied minors were encountered in January 2021, and around 3,500 unaccompanied minors were apprehended in February 2020. Nearly 7,200 encounters in February 2019, according to CBP.
Over 29,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended by CBP agents since October 2020.
Facilities housing unaccompanied migrant children were allowed to open at full capacity despite previous COVID-19 restrictions, a HHS spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation Friday.