Customs and Border Protection has more than 5,000 unaccompanied children in custody

Jacob Knutson
·1 min read

Customs and Border Protection has more than 5,000 unaccompanied children in its custody, up from less than 4,500 just days ago, according to agency documents reviewed by CNN.

Why it matters: The number of unaccompanied children crossing the border is expected to grow exponentially through this spring, which is likely to further strain the resources needed to shelter the children, setting up a crisis for the Biden administration.

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By the numbers: A CBP staffer told top administration officials last month that the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, Axios' Stef Kight reports.

  • President Biden was also briefed in March on the need for 20,000 beds to shelter the expected increase in child migrants.

The big picture: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said this week that the U.S. is on pace to encounter more people at the U.S.-Mexico border "than we have in the last 20 years" as poverty, violence and corruption in Mexico and Central American countries force people north in hopes of finding a better life.

  • Biden in an interview with ABC News this week told people from Central America to stay in their "town or city or community" instead of coming to the United States.

  • "I can say quite clearly: Don't come over," the president said.

Go deeper: Swing voters worry about child migrant buildup

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