Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar is accusing the Biden administration of moving unaccompanied minors from one border facility to another to create the impression it is emptying crowded holding areas.
Cuellar, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, accused the Department of Health and Human Services of using the tactic to secure better images of its crowded Donna, Texas facility.
‘All they’re doing is, they’re moving kids from one tent to the other tent and saying: “Oh, they’re not in the Border Patrol (custody). But they’re right next door,”‘ Cuellar said.
Meanwhile, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement reported this week that there are currently 22,195 unaccompanied children in its custody – a new record. Additionally, 2,000 children are being held by other federal agencies, the Washington Examiner reported.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared Thursday on former Obama advisor David Axelrod’s podcast, and provided her most fulsome explanation for why Biden has resisted calls that he visit the border.
‘We’re often asked, “Why doesn’t he go to the border?”‘ she told Axelrod. ‘Important issue. We’re focused on it,’ she said.
‘What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than who’s focused on the pandemic and the economy. So that may be maddening, but, you know, that’s what we try to do,’ she added.
A government handout photo shows the temporary processing facilities for migrants in Donna, Texas, U.S., April 30, 2021. U.S. officials have reduced the number of unaccompanied children held in border stations in recent weeks as children have been moved to emergency shelters. But Rep. Henry Cuellar says children are being moved from one tent to another
Cuellar was referencing the effort to transfer minors from Customs and Border Control custody to HHS. The law requires they be transferred within a 72 hour period, although the Administration struggled to comply amid a surge at the border this spring.
He told Border Report the minors held in government custody were simply moved to nearby tent facilities operated by HHS.
‘But they’re right next door. They’re just next door in HHS,’ he said.
He said officials ‘set up maybe five tents that are run by HHS.’
LAST MONTH: In this March 30, 2021, file photo young minors lie inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in Donna, Texas.
In this March 30, 2021, file photo, young unaccompanied migrants, from ages 3 to 9, watch television inside a playpen at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas.
‘All they’re doing is, they’re moving kids from one tent to the other tent and saying: “Oh, they’re not in the Border Patrol (custody). But they’re right next door,”‘ said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.). The administration released images showing a sharp decrease in crowding at the Donna, Texas facility pictured above
An asylum-seeking migrant father carries his child while waiting to be escorted by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, in Roma, Texas, U.S., May 6, 2021
Asylum-seeking migrant families walk from shore to hand themselves in to the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, in Roma, Texas, May 6, 2021
The HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement reported this week that there are currently 22,195 unaccompanied children in its custody
Homeland Security officials this week released photos showing its previously crowded Donna facilities had been emptied out considerably compared to a few weeks ago.
Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday she is likely to visit Mexico and Guatemala in early June as she seeks to address the root causes of immigration.
The Biden administration on Wednesday cited a 90 per cent drop in people held in Border Patrol custody – 600 at the end of April compared to 5,000 in March.
‘The amount of time children spend in CBP custody is down 75 percent, from 131 hours at the end of March to under 30 hours now,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.)
‘After four years of an immigration system rooted in destructive and chaotic policies, President Biden is taking the challenge head on and building a fair, orderly and humane immigration system, that is our objective,’ she added.
HHS has opened 14 new emergency shelters to deal with the problem.
DailyMail.com has reached out to HHS for additional comment.