The Biden administration is working on plans to help reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, including dedicating a task force to the process. Meanwhile, thousands of asylum-seekers are waiting for their day in court. CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal reports from Hidalgo, Texas.
- Facilities at the border, they're are almost full, almost at capacity. The Biden administration is working to speed up the release of migrant children to their families in the US. Mireya Villarreal reports on those efforts and the backlog that asylum seekers are currently facing.
MIREYA VILLARREAL: All eyes are on South Texas when it comes to the discussion of immigration. We have a lot of issues converging right now along the border, asylum seekers for example. We're also discussing a rise in apprehensions, including a focus on unaccompanied minors. And we're also discussing families that were separated during the previous administration.
There are roughly 1,000 children right now in federal custody that were separated by the government, and the ACLU's last court filing reported NGO's trying to reunite these families could not locate the parents of 506 children. The Biden administration has announced this is a priority, and they want to put a task force together to fix the problem. But parents who were separated from their kids say this process will not be easy.
The new administration is also tackling what the Trump administration called Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as MPP. On Thursday, 27 asylum seekers left Matamoros, Mexico and will now finish their asylum cases in the US. But there are hundreds more waiting in a massive migrant camp we visited this week for their opportunity with limited information from both governments Mexico and the US on how quickly this process will go. Overall, more than 70,000 asylum seekers were sent back to Mexico to wait for their cases.
At the same time, Border Patrol is also seeing a rise right now in apprehensions all along the southwest border. On average, they reported 3,000 a day in January. And agents tell me they have seen a lot of unaccompanied minors crossing right here in South Texas. And we just got word, a new report was released by the Office of the Inspector General. It says that around 2017, Customs and Border Protection was given about $700 million to upgrade their surveillance and their technology, but only 28% of what they plan to do has actually been implemented. Vlad and Marie.
- Mireya, thank you very much.