Homeland Security says up to 441 unaccompanied minors will be encountered at the border daily

by Jacob Fuller

Lauren Moye, FISM News


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now estimates that 441 unaccompanied minors will cross the Mexico-U.S. border every day this year. That is a 43% increase over the 308 daily encounters with minors recorded in 2021.

In a new report from the DHS, the border patrol is expecting the annual total of unaccompanied migrant children (UCs) that come into their custody to be between 148,000 to 161,000 during fiscal year 2022. For comparison, fiscal year 2021 saw only 112,433 UC encounters.

That is just one stunning detail of the southern border crisis that remains unaddressed. When a UC comes into border patrol custody, they are referred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be placed into shelters or, eventually, homes within the U.S.

Federal law prevents UCs from being sent across the border unless their country of origin is Canada or Mexico. In fiscal year 2021, only 1% of children originated from Mexico.

Instead, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador gained the top three slots during the 2017 fiscal year and have retained those positions ever since. In fiscal year 2021, these three countries comprised 92% of UCs recorded by the HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement.

For the children themselves, it’s a harrowing and potentially fatal journey to cross the border. Since 2017, HHS shows that roughly 16% of all UC are between the ages of 0 and 12, and an additional 12% are under the age of 14.

The New York Post reported that two young children were found Monday alone on the Mexico side of the chain-link fence that divides the border at Eagle Pass, Texas. When the children were spotted around 5:30 p.m., the temperature was near 104.9 degrees. Such heat can easily become fatal without adequate water. One child was spotted clutching a large water bottle.

Border patrol agents who spotted the pair rescued them by guiding them to the U.S. side of the border, where they gave the children food and water.

The Biden administration has previously dismissed surges in border crossings as a yearly pattern.

However, 2021 and 2022 have both set new records for border patrol migrant encounters. May of this year set a new historic high. This new report on UCs will also set a new record high if its predictions come true.

Border states are growing increasingly impatient with what they view as the White House’s failure to respond. Most recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order allowing the National Guard and state Department of Public Safety to apprehend illegal immigrants and return them to the border.

In their response, the White House accused Abbott of causing “chaos” and “confusion.”