Number of unaccompanied migrant children surges as reports of overcrowded conditions inside migrant facilities surface

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The White House has yet to give an update on the condition inside migrant facilities. 

According to documents from the Department of Homeland Security obtained by National Public Radio (NPR), unaccompanied children are being held for an average of 117 hours in detention facilities— about 45 hours more than what is allowed by law.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Troy Miller said that while he could not discuss the "specific numbers of how long the children are in custody", they are a priority. 

"We put the children at the front of the line for processing," Miller said. "In front of single adults and in front of the family units."

A senior official with CBP who asked to remain anonymous said that while the specific number can't be provided, CBP is doing everything in their power to move the children as quickly as possible.

"Border Patrol stations are not places for children," the senior official said. 

Reports of unaccompanied children, specifically in Donna, being held in overcrowded facilities without access to showers began circulating. 

But Miller said showers, laundry service, blankets, cots and masks are all provided to the migrants in the facilities. 

As far as the reports that children were unable to call relatives or get fresh air, Millers said an initial phone call is available upon arrival to the facility. 

Miller also said there are dedicated recreational areas, at the Donna facility at least. 

The Commissioner said many factors may be behind the historic surge at the southern border.

"The COVID-19 rate of infections down in South and Central America, we recently had a hurricane, continued violence, unemployment," Miller said. "If you put all those issues together, I mean really you're gonna see folks looking for a better way of life."


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