White House predicts surge of children at border will last six months: report

Number of children could rise to 26,000 a month in September

Updated: March 29, 2021 - 1:11pm

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The Biden administration is predicting that the flood of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border will continue for the next six months and break all records.

The White House said the number of children could rise to 26,000 a month in September, far more than the 16,000 who illegally crossed into the U.S. so far this month, Axios reported, citing leaked documents.

"Until this month, the record was 11,475 in May 2019. The minimum projections for each of the next six months are thousands higher than that," wrote the liberal-leaning political website.

"To give a sense of how out of hand the crossings are getting, the administration projected just a month ago the figure for May would be 13,000. The new estimate is 22,000 to 25,000," said the site. "The Customs and Border Protection range for September is 22,000 to 26,000. Under any scenario, projections include a peak month that would double the record that stood until this month."

President Biden dismissed the surge during his press conference last week, saying, "Nothing has changed" at the border. "It happens every single, solitary year: There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. That happens every year."

Axios said federal agencies are busy playing catch up, making preparations for the record-shattering influx.

The Health and Human Services Department said it needs and extra 6,000 shelter beds immediately to accommodate the unaccompanied youths now in custody. The department also said it is planning to add space for more than 5,000 children at various nearby military bases.

Last week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador blamed Biden for the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying his public statements prompted Central Americans to try to get into the United States.

"Expectations were created that with the government of President Biden there would be a better treatment of migrants," Lopez Obrador said Wednesday at a press conference. "And this has caused Central American migrants, and also (people) from our country, wanting to cross the border, thinking that it is easier to do so."

Biden used an executive order in his first days in office to end former President Trump's Migrant Protection Protocols, which kept foreigners who tried to enter the U.S. illegally in camps in Mexico while they awaited hearings. Instead, Biden returned to a "catch-and-release" policy in which illegal aliens are allowed to enter the U.S. until their trial.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office is investigating Biden's order to halt funding for the border wall, probing whether the move is illegal because it freezes funds controlled by Congress.

"The Biden administration has to be really careful about doing stuff like this because, otherwise, they’re just going to be doing the exact thing the Trump administration did – just at the other end of the policy spectrum," Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette of the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, told The Hill newspaper about the purported GAO probe.

On his first day in office, Biden froze billions of dollars that had been appropriated by Congress for President Trump to build and repair the southern border barrier.