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Complexities at the Border are Lost as Media, GOP Paint Situation as a “Surge”

As corporate media and Republicans paint the influx of unaccompanied children on the U.S.-Mexico border as a “crisis” and “surge,” advocates and attorneys tell Truthout that legal and logistical complexities are being lost in these distorted portrayals.

The Biden administration, they say, faces the challenges of inheriting an asylum system that former President Donald Trump systematically dismantled, in addition to those posed by the ongoing global pandemic.

“What’s disturbing to me about what the Biden administration is doing, is that they’re treating family groups — where there may not be a biological parent in the group, but let’s say, it’s an aunt and a niece — they are taking those kids in as ‘unaccompanied’ minors,” Austin-based immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch tells Truthout. “That is something that needs to shift quickly under Biden.”

This is why it’s so critical that Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) increasingly adopt a co-location model that would reduce time children’s time in custody because HHS staffers, not CBP officers, can make more immediate determinations about who is an appropriate caregiver or sponsor to release children with or to, says Leah Chavla, a senior policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission.