USA and refugee policy under Joe Biden: Thousands of migrant children imprisoned again

According to the New York Times, 2000 unaccompanied underage refugees were picked up by US patrols near the Mexican border in the past week alone, most of them in their teens, but some of them significantly younger. Observers fear that the record numbers from May 2019 will soon be exceeded. At that time, more than 11,000 minors came across the border.

During the corona crisis, many migrants were turned away under Trump with reference to the emergency laws. The Biden government has ended this practice, but the pandemic is making it difficult for people to move on. Most of the young refugees who are currently arriving in the United States will first be placed in a ten-day quarantine and then placed in various closed accommodations.

700 refugee teenagers in a camp

This is now being criticized by human rights groups. You see yourself set back in Trump times – also because under Biden, provisional warehouses that have already been closed are being reopened. A closed shelter in Carrizo, Texas, where another 700 refugee teenagers have been detained, is particularly criticized.

“It looks like this government can’t bring itself to find a new way to deal with the situation,” an activist from the group “Witness at the Border” is quoted in the New York Times. “The time spent in these large camps without proper supervision traumatizes the children and young people.”

The Biden government sees itself once again under particular pressure due to the corona pandemic. The authority responsible for the health and accommodation of refugees works with a network of accommodation that has over 13,000 beds nationwide. But due to the current hygiene rules, only 60 percent of it can be used. That is why many underage migrants continue to be locked up in camps near the border for an indefinite period – although they should actually be released after 72 hours.

Critics of the current refugee policy are now calling for children and young people to be passed on directly to relatives or contact persons in the country. Most of the young migrants, the New York Times quoted human rights activists as saying, came into the country with the telephone numbers and addresses of relevant people.

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