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During the whole month of February, U.S. border agents detained close to 100,000 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. That’s the highest number of February arrivals since 2006. January meanwhile saw 78,000 arrivals. It comes as Biden looks to reverse former President Donald Trump’s restrictive border policies. Republicans have criticized Biden for the surge, claiming his policies are leading to more “illegal immigration.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent a letter to Biden requesting a meeting to talk about the “great concern” he had with the administration’s border approach. Reuters
In other federal immigration news…
Mayorkas Visits Border Detention Centers
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Biden administration officials visited a border patrol facility and refugee resettlement facility on Saturday. The White House announced last week that Biden wanted his senior staff members to travel to the border and report on the increase of unaccompanied minors there. There, the officials learned about “the complex challenges with rebuilding our gutted border infrastructure and immigration system, as well as improvements that must be made in order to restore safe and efficient procedures to process, shelter and place unaccompanied children with family sponsors,” said a White House statement. Biden administration officials warned migrants against traveling to the border to slow the influx. The Guardian and The Hill
ICE Ending Family Detention As Facilities Empty Out
ICE announced it is changing family detention centers to short-term facilities that will release families after no more than 72 hours. The disclosure suggests the agency plans on ending family detention, a policy that began in 2014 under the Obama administration. Only 13 families were reported in ICE detention as of Friday, and seven more were scheduled to be released. The remaining six will leave March 7 unless they test positive for COVID-19. When Biden took office, ICE operated three family detention centers; two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. According to the court filing on Friday, all of the families from the Pennsylvania facility were released. NBC News