Show an ad over header. AMP

U.S. border agency projects surge in child migrant crossings to last at least 7 months

Data: U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Biden administration projects the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border could spiral from more than 16,000 this month to as many as 26,000 in September, according to documents leaked to Axios.

Why it matters: Until this month, the record was 11,475 in May 2019. The minimum projections for each of the next six months are thousands higher than that.


  • To give a sense of how out of hand the crossings are getting, the administration projected just a month ago the figure for May would be 13,000. The new estimate is 22,000 to 25,000.
  • The Customs and Border Protection range for September is 22,000 to 26,000. Under any scenario, projections include a peak month that would double the record that stood until this month.
  • Spokespersons for the White House and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services referred Axios to DHS.

Between the lines: The new figures indicate government resources will be strained far longer than under usual seasonal migration patterns.

  • During his news conference last week, President Biden repeatedly described the border situation as normal: "Nothing has changed. ... It happens every single, solitary year."
  • But his own agencies are preparing for anything but normal, according to the leaked documents, dated last Wednesday.

By the numbers: CBP data back to 2010 showed the May 2019 record of 11,475 unaccompanied minors trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • No more than 8,230 kids were put in shelters each year from 2004 to 2009, before a rise in child migration was first noticed in 2011, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
  • Now, the government is planning for multiple months with more than 20,000 kids illegally crossing the border — and that's not including those from Mexico, who can quickly be returned to their home country.
  • The Wall Street Journal first reported on heightened projections for this April and May. The figures obtained by Axios show two worst-case scenarios through the rest of the fiscal year, one based on a 2016 model and another based on a hybrid model.

What to watch: The documents also show the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has an immediate need for an extra 6,000 shelter beds. That would allow it to house the migrant kids already in government custody while remaining at a targeted cap of 90% capacity.

  • The agency is planning to open up space for more than 5,000 kids using sites on military bases.
  • It will need an additional 34,000 beds in September to prevent kids waiting in unfit border patrol stations, if projections hold. The agency could have more than 53,000 kids in custody that month.
  • The administration already has asked federal workers outside the normal immigration agencies for volunteers to work on the problem.

The big picture: Under current policies, the government is facing unheard of numbers of migrant kids illegally crossing the border this fiscal year — from 159,000 to 184,000.

  • Even the low-end estimate is double the total number of kids who tried to cross during the crisis year of 2019. In 2014, the Obama administration struggled to care for just 69,000 kids who crossed illegally.
  • The data obtained by Axios did not include projections for migrant families, but the Department of Homeland Security is expecting from 500,000 to 800,000 migrants crossing the border this fiscal year in family groups, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
  • The numbers would be equal to or greater than in 2019, compounding the growing crisis.

Corporate America begins to see fallout after wading into politics

Corporate America is finding it can get messy when it steps into politics.

Why it matters: Urged on by shareholders, employees and its own company creeds, Big Business is taking increasing stands on controversial political issues during recent months — and now it's beginning to see the fallout.

Keep reading... Show less

Church shelters call out U.S. for expelling migrants when they have capacity

Despite the separation between church and state, the federal government depends upon religious shelters to help it cope with migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Why it matters: The network supports the U.S. in times of crisis, but now some shelter leaders are complaining about expelling families to Mexico when they have capacity — and feel a higher calling — to accommodate them.

Keep reading... Show less

Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd is the rare officer conviction

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was shown kneeling on George Floyd's neck last year in a video that shook the nation, was found guilty of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday.

Yes, but: Eight years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officersto face legal consequences or jail time over the deaths of Black people.

Keep reading... Show less

Senate confirms Lisa Monaco as Justice Department's deputy attorney general

The Senate voted 98-2 on Tuesday to confirm Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general for the Justice Department, making her the agency's second highest-ranking official.

Why it matters: Monaco is expected to play a key role in Attorney General Merrick Garland's pledge to crack down on violence from domestic extremist groups, including the department's sweeping investigation of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Keep reading... Show less

Minneapolis reflects on Chauvin verdict as a step toward healing and calm

A growing crowd outside the Hennepin County Government Center broke out into cheers, hugs and tears of relief as word of the Derek Chauvin verdict spread just after 4pm CST.

Catch up quick: Eleven months after George Floyd died under the former Minneapolis police officer's knee, a jury of 12 neighbors returned a guilty verdict on all three counts.

Keep reading... Show less

"Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family": Nation reacts to Chauvin verdict

America is speaking out after the jury in Derek Chauvin's trial announced its guiltyverdict after about 10 hours of deliberation.

What they're saying...

Ben Crump, Floyd family lawyer: "GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family ... Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!"

Keep reading... Show less

Derek Chauvin found guilty of all 3 charges in George Floyd's death

A jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd's death.

Why it matters: This rare conviction of a police officer may come to be seen as a defining moment in America's collective reckoning with issues of race and justice.

Keep reading... Show less

Super League in super trouble

The European Super League is on the brink before it even manages to launch.

The state of play: Two key English teams — Chelsea and Manchester City — are reportedly preparing to exit just two days after the league announced its formation, ESPN notes.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories