Unaccompanied minors being held by Border Patrol longer than US law allows, looming crisis, report

The data about the custody stays was found in internal Customs and Border Protection documents.

Unaccompanied migrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are now on average staying in Border Patrol custody for longer than three days, signaling a looming crisis, according to news reports.

The data about the custody stays was found in internal Customs and Border Protection documents dated Tuesday and reviewed by CNN. 

The cable news network says the numbers show a growing trend of children without parents coming into U.S. custody at levels beyond the Health and Human Services Department's ability to house them, amid limited shelter capacity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

CNN reported Wednesday that its review of preliminary data in the document found that on average, over the past 21 days, after the start of the Biden administration, the U.S. Border Patrol, part of Customs and Border Protection, arrested roughly 340 children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border alone.

The average time in Border Patrol facilities, which are not designed to hold children, was 77 hours, longer than the 72 permitted under US law, the cable news network also reports.