By Susan Carroll
The Obama administration announced plans Friday to create more detention space for families caught at the border and to accelerate certain cases through immigration court, hoping to stem a record-setting tide of migration from Central America.
Mayorkas said DHS and other federal agencies also plan to put additional immigration judges and other personnel on the border to speed up the processing of asylum claims.
The White House announcement today comes amid mounting political pressure for the administration to change policies that Republicans argue have encouraged both unaccompanied children and migrants from Central American with children to cross the Southwest border.
The government has released tens of thousands of Central Americans caught crossing the border together with their children in recent months at public bus terminals across Texas and into Arizona because Immigration and Customs and Enforcement officials lack detention beds for families. The agency now has only one residential family detention center in Pennsylvania with a capacity of 96 beds.
As of the end of May of this fiscal year, about 39,000 adults with children have been apprehended along the southwest border, Mayorkas said. As of June 15, about 52,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended along the southwest border.