Approximately 100 unaccompanied migrant boys were scheduled to arrive Saturday at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas to be housed at an emergency intake site, Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.
The site has the capacity to care for up to 372 children.
HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is tasked with caring for migrant children until they are released to an appropriate guardian or sponsor. As of April 15, there were 19,798 children in ORR care, across 200 facilities in 22 states.
HHS said that ORR has been working to build up its capacity to fit the surge in migrant children, but additional capacity “is urgently needed.”
The Biden administration has urged Latin Americans not to send their children to the southern border but is not turning away children who arrive alone, saying that to do so would be “inhumane.”
As of early April, the federal government was spending $60 million per week to care for the children, and that number was expected to grow.
Pressure has mounted on the Biden administration to take action on the surge. Actions he’s taken so far include trying to get other countries to increase their troop presence on the border and sending Vice President Kamala Harris to Mexico and Guatemala to figure out how to address the “root cause” of migration. Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas.
On Friday the Biden administration announced it would keep the lowered, Trump-era refugee cap at 15,000. A report said that Biden had become concerned about political optics of raising the cap amid a surge in migrants at the southern border that has overwhelmed officials — although refugees are handled by separate systems to asylum seekers at the border.
Biden faced bitter backlash after promising to raise the cap significantly during his campaign, and later reversed course to say that 15,000 number wasn’t final.