The Biden administration is trying to manage the 21,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) now in shelters across the country by deploying federal workers from agencies that fall under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) — the two agencies tasked with handling the minors.
CNN revealed the facts in a piece mainly about the lack of bed space for the UACs:
The administration has since taken a series of steps to shore up additional resources and personnel. HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement posted a job for a Field Program Specialist that’s open to “current federal employees from any agency at any grade,” and is described as a deployment to “support ORR at facilities for unaccompanied children.”
Shortages in staffing have become a point of tension between HHS and the Department of Homeland Security. “They’re struggling to meet the needs of the mission,” a Homeland Security official said, adding that there’s been tense conversations with the department, as DHS steps in to help with processing and volunteers.
More than 300 personnel from Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency under DHS, are helping with case management — the process of gathering a child’s details and helping reunite him/her with a sponsor in the U.S. — according to HHS. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also under DHS, is providing technical assistance to expand bed capacity and support to establish emergency intake sites “to provide immediate decompression” of border facilities, according to an agency spokesperson. As of April 21, 95 FEMA personnel have been deployed to sites in Texas, California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the spokesperson added.
The plan is costly too, with CNN reporting earlier this month that the Biden administration is spending $62 million dollars a week to care for the UACs.
In the CNN article, one critic of the Biden policies is quoted. Neha Desai is an immigration director at the National Center for Youth Law.
“While we appreciate the resources that the government has poured into ensuring that children are transferred out of border patrol facilities, we remain concerned that sufficient resources are not being invested into expanding licensed bed capacity,” Desai said.
“It is concerning that particularly vulnerable populations including young children, indigenous youth, and children with disabilities are being placed in unregulated Emergency Intake Sites rather than facilities licensed by state child welfare authorities,” Desai said.
“In the past month, [HHS] has doubled its capacity by adding more than 14,000 emergency intake shelter beds, according to Mark Weber, a HHS spokesperson,” CNN reported.
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