07:18 GMT19 April 2021
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    President Joe Biden’s administration is struggling to deal with a massive migrant surge at the southern border with Mexico amid forecasts by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that as many as 184,000 unaccompanied minors could reach the border this fiscal year.

    As the administration of US President Joe Biden scrambles to tackle the historic surge in migrants crossing the southern border with Mexico, the Pentagon has approved the use of another military base to house unaccompanied migrant children, reports Fox News.

    After Fort Bliss and Joint Base San Antonio in Texas were approved for housing migrant minors, the Defense Department granted a request from Health and Human Services on Friday to house the unaccompanied youngsters at Camp Roberts.

    "On April 2, the Department of Defense approved a request for assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for facilities and land to temporarily house unaccompanied children at Camp Roberts, California," a defence official was cited by the outlet as saying.

    "This support is being provided on a fully-reimbursable basis. DoD only provides this kind of support where it has no impact on military readiness and its ability to conduct its primary missions," added the unnamed source.

    ‘Humanitarian Disaster’

    Camp Roberts is, thus, the third military base being used to house migrant children amid a Customs and Border Protection (CPB) estimate cited by the outlet earlier as projecting that as many as 184,000 unaccompanied children could reach the border this fiscal year, ending in September.

    "We’ve never seen anything like this before," a CPB agent was quoted as saying.

    Preliminary forecasts show that Customs and Border Protection will have encountered more than 171,000 migrant arrivals in March, in a significant surge from February, when the cited number was over 100,000.

    Asylum-seeking migrants' families queue to board a bus as they wait to be transported by the U.S. Border Patrols after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Penitas, Texas, U.S., March 26, 2021.
    Asylum-seeking migrants' families queue to board a bus as they wait to be transported by the U.S. Border Patrols after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Penitas, Texas, U.S., March 26, 2021.

    Overall, Border Patrol agents detain an average 5,000 migrants daily, with the Department of Homeland Security expecting roughly 500,000 to 800,000 migrants to arrive during the 2021 fiscal year.

    The government data reported on by The Washington Post is expected to equal or overtake the record surge in illegal crossings into the country in 2019.

    Despite the cited data, the Biden administration refuses to acknowledge the situation as a "crisis", however, while noting the increased workload on border services and the "overwhelming" number of arriving migrants, including unaccompanied children.

    Appalled by what US Republican Senator Ted Cruz and fellow lawmakers have characterised during a trip to a migrant sheltering facility in Donna, Texas, on the US-Mexico border as "a humanitarian disaster", critics of the Biden administration have blamed the ‘crisis’ on unravelling of Trump-era border protections.

    ​Legislation dating to ex-President Donald Trump’s tenure, like the Migrant Protection Protocols, had kept migrants in Mexico as they await their hearings.

    ​After his inauguration, Biden had issued a spate of directives in January, halting construction of Trump’s border wall, moving to end “harsh and extreme immigration enforcement”, and promising to “restore and expand” the asylum system.

    "We have a crisis on the border, even though the Biden administration still refuses to acknowledge it," former CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and The Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Lora Ries said in a statement in response to the preliminary March migrant estimates.

    "Today’s numbers are just more evidence of this undeniable reality – and proof that President Biden’s policies are driving this crisis."

    ​On 25 March the Heritage’s immigration team carried out a fact check on the statements made by President Joe Biden about illegal immigration and the border crisis during his first press conference since inauguration.

    Underscoring that Biden had campaigned on a pledge to ‘return to norms,’ they lambasted the current president for ‘blaming his predecessors for his own mistakes’.

    “His words from the White House today only send a stronger message to cartels to continue trafficking children to the border. Make no mistake, his remarks are making the crisis worse, not better. He showed the American people in this press conference why he is not trustworthy on this issue, and why he is utterly ill-suited to the moment in which our nation finds itself,” claimed the think tank’s immigration experts.

    The Democratic President has also been resisting calls to pay a visit to the border, telling journalists that he plans to do so “at some point”.

    A recent poll, meanwhile, has shown that the surge of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border has produced a negative job approval rating for President Biden.

    According to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, conducted on 26-29 March, a 49 percent of voters disapprove of the Democratic POTUS’s handling of immigration issues, while 40 percent approve, down 6 points over the same time period.


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    Donald Trump, Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Health and Human Services, Pentagon, Migrants, migrants, migrants, immigrant children, US-Mexico Border, US-Mexico border, Joe Biden
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