Biden Administration Calls in FEMA to Help at Border

FEMA to help the thousands of kids avoid being treated as detainees of Customs and Border Protection for the next three months.

Video Transcript

ALEX ARGER: Along the southwest border are thousands of migrant children alone and waiting. They are part of a record-breaking surge of kids trying to get into the US, showing up unaccompanied by parents or family members. The Biden administration has deployed the disaster agency FEMA to help out. Homeland Security can only place a fraction of those children with sponsors.

VERONICA ESCOBAR: There is no doubt, Jake, that what we're seeing today is an enormous challenge, and it's unacceptable.

ALEX ARGER: The Federal Emergency Management Agency will support a government-wide effort over the next three months to shelter and transfer these minor children, who are arriving by the hundreds every day. The goal is to place the children with a parent already living in the United States or a sponsor until their immigration cases can be resolved. This step hopes to ease jam-packed Border Patrol holding facilities designed for adults, which have become overcrowded with nearly 4,000 kids in recent days.

VERONICA ESCOBAR: So there are fewer licensed high quality facilities. The Biden administration is working very hard. HHS and ORR told me and others to get as many of those licensed facilities online.

ALEX ARGER: President Biden rejected former President Trump's policy to turn back minors who cross the border. Growing reports say parents have increasingly sent their kids across the border alone while they stay in their home countries. And many believe they have a better chance of entering the US now that President Biden is in office. Republicans say the problem is being caused by what they see as a weak approach to immigration under the Biden administration. Democrats blame misinformation being spread by smugglers, and say the Trump administration dismantled the border process.

JEN PSAKI: It doesn't matter what you call it. It is an enormous challenge. It is something that is front and center for the president.

ALEX ARGER: For Newsy, I'm Alex Arger.