Members of the Domestic Policy Council were set to tell President Biden Tuesday that the number of migrant children who cross the southern border this year is on pace to exceed an all-time record — by 45 percent — citing unreleased data from the Department of Homeland Security.
In a presentation made up of nearly 40 slides obtained by Axios, the DPC cites data from DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services to warn that the Biden administration is 20,000 beds short of what it needs to properly house the 117,000 unaccompanied child migrants expected to cross the border this year.
Despite establishing multiple new tent-style shelters and loosening COVID-19 restrictions, the DCP is telling Biden that the administration will fall short of its needs by a couple thousand.
The replacement of former President Donald Trump, who maintained a hard line on immigration, with Biden, who has undone some of his predecessor’s key border initiatives, has set off a new caravan to the US border of Central American and Mexican migrants, including thousands of unescorted children.
In his first month, Biden ended construction of Trump’s signature US-Mexico border wall and began to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which about 71,000 Central American asylum applicants were awaiting rulings in Mexico. He issued an order affirming the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives work permits and protection from deportation to people brought illegally to the US as minors, and proposed legislation that would create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US.
The White House declined to comment Tuesday when reached by The Post. A spokesperson for DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the numbers, as well as DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ insistence a day earlier that there was not a crisis at the border.
“Well, I’ll leave that to the Secretary of Homeland Security to define,” Psaki began, “He said it was a challenge, it is a challenge.
“We have more than 7,000 unaccompanied kids who have come into the United States, and that is certainly a lot of children that we are trying to treat humanely and safely and processed through the system as quickly as we can,” she continued, calling it “not easy.”
She went on to note that the president was regularly briefed by the DPC.
While claiming that the border was not facing a crisis, Mayorkas said while speaking to reporters Monday that the problems the agency did face should be blamed on the previous administration.
“Let me explain to you why [fixing the broken immigration system] is hard and why it is going take time. I think it is important to understand what we have inherited because it defines the situation as it currently stands. Entire systems are not rebuilt in a day or in a few weeks,” he began. “To put it succinctly, the prior administration dismantled our nation’s immigration system in its entirety.”
Mayorkas’ comments came before reporters had been given the chance to ask any questions, making it clear he was likely expecting questions on the burgeoning crisis at the US-Mexico border, a crisis that has erupted in the month since Biden was sworn in.
When taking questions, he was also asked by an ABC News reporter why he was told members of the press would be not be able to tour migrant facilities in Texas. The reporter had been told the administration would not allow such tours due to coronavirus restrictions.
Mayorkas replied that he would look into the matter.
Pressed by the Daily Caller, the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (ACF) affirmed, “The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is not hosting media tours of unaccompanied children (UC) facilities currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic,. If media tours resume, we will send a media advisory.”