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Snippet of the NPR Politics Podcast: Advocates Say Biden Should Have Been Prepared for Child Migrant Arrivals

From Audio: Migrant Children Advocates Say Biden Should Have Been Prepared For Arrivals

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The NPR Politics Podcast
Duration: 03:21
The reasons the Biden administration is housing some migrant children in adult detention facilities are complicated. The number of migrants arriving at the border is rising and includes many children traveling without their parents.
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The reasons the Biden administration is housing some migrant children in adult detention facilities are complicated. The number of migrants arriving at the border is rising and includes many children traveling without their parents.
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administration. Yeah, it hasn't always been clear. The Biden administration has really been kind of struggling with dual messages. Now they're saying with clarity that the border is not open. Don't come. But for many of the first weeks of the administration, uh, they've been really trying to balance this humanity approach, saying they want to have a more humane approach to the border, but at the same time encourage those who are not seeking legitimate asylum cases not to come. And it's been a very, very difficult balance to strike just to contextualized this. Here's the scale of what we're talking about. Immigration authorities encountered more than 100,000 migrants attempting to cross the border last month alone. There's more than 14,000 migrant teens and Children now in US custody, and more are likely on the way. And these kids are posing a major challenge because there's just not enough appropriate housing to to handle the number of Children and teenagers, not to mention the broader number of migrants. But Franco couldn't. It seems like they weren't prepared for this surge, even though they must have known that when you send a welcoming message, even though you also say don't come now that desperate people in Central America are going to hear the welcoming part. So why weren't they prepared for this? Yeah, I mean, I think that is That is a major question that they are trying to answer right now. I spoke with people in the transition who told me that they were ready. They were expecting these numbers to come. I mean, just, you know, switching the name basically on the door at the White House from Trump to Biden is going to kind of, you know, be a signal that you're going to have a more human approach to migration. So the administration will even acknowledge that there was there was a lot of pent up demand, but the administration was, you know, did also have other information that they could have, uh, you know, you know, made adjustments for I think one challenge that's kind of been articulated to me is that the Biden administration underestimated, um, the saw, the reduced size of the HHS shelter system. That's the Health and Human Services shelter system that takes these Children. The Trump Administration dramatically reduced the size of the shelter system and a lot of the advocates feel that this may have caused bigger problems, essentially kind of scared away relatives and parents. That was another thing that the Biden administration has since tried to do, which is end some of the information sharing between enforcement agents, uh, and these shelter workers so that family members will come forward, um, and be more willing to, you know, take custody of the Children because they're not afraid of being deported or being removed. But it is. It is a huge challenge. So, frank, I want to circle back to a lot of the different choices the Biden administration has made or not made here the way that the message has has changed and made the situation worse. But but Mara, it's fair to say that in addition to being an enormous humanitarian challenge for the Biden administration, this has now become a big
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