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Biden administration to open emergency shelters with more than 16,000 migrant children in U.S. custody

Migrant children in U.S. custody top 16,000
Migrant children in U.S. custody top 16,000 amid surge at border 02:25

Juarez, Mexico — The Biden administration is on track to open at least six emergency facilities to house migrant children streaming into the U.S. But it may not be enough because migrants keep showing up at the border. 

More than 16,000 migrant children are currently in U.S. custody, with 5,000 of those in the hands of Border Patrol, which is encountering about 530 unaccompanied minors every day. 

CBS News met a Guatemalan family crossing the border with 16-year-old Isabel, who they are helping make the journey. Isabel was without her parents, and said they were sick and she's hoping to work in the U.S. to support them. Without a parent or legal guardian, Isabel may be the only one in her group allowed to stay in the U.S. and make her case after being intercepted by Border Patrol agents. 

The media has not been allowed into shelters housing migrants, though U.S. Customs and Border Protection released new videos this week of unaccompanied minors and some adults being held at two temporary processing facilities in Texas. 

Republicans are putting pressure on the Biden administration to allow media access to the shelters. 

"They're hoping nobody sees the tragic human cost of their failed policies," Texas Senator Ted Cruz said. 

The Biden administration is now directing shelters to fast-track the release of unaccompanied minors with a parent or guardian in the U.S. who can care for them. 

Mexico says it has stepped up immigration enforcement along its southern border with Guatemala as U.S. officials visit the region to explore ways to reduce the flow of migrants. 

But a smuggler in Juarez, who spoke with CBS News on condition of anonymity, says he doesn't see border crossings slowing down. 

"Even with the risk of being deported, they still want to try," he said, adding that family members in the U.S. are telling migrants to keep trying. 

The smuggler gave CBS News access to his operation, showing the ladders used to scale the border wall and the holes used to keep an eye out for Border Patrol. It's $1,000 for a chance to cross over. But CBS News has watched repeatedly as many of those migrants end up on the bridge back to Juarez.

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