Vice President Kamala Harris dodged a question about the Biden administration's handling of the surge in illegal immigrant children on the southern border, The Epoch Times reported.
"I haven't been briefed on anything today about it, but I will when I get on the plane," Harris told reporters in Denver on Tuesday.
The vice president, who was a harsh critic of the Trump administration's detention policies regarding unaccompanied minors, did not speak to reporters for the rest of the day.
The number of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border rose to more than 100,000 in February in the first full month of the new administration, according to Customs and Border Protection. This marked a 28% increase over the numbers in January. Of those, 19,246 individuals were in family units, 9,457 were unaccompanied children (UACs) and 71,598 were single adults.
Due to the surge, the administration has opened or reopened several facilities in border states in an attempt to deal with the situation, and reached a deal to house immigrant teenagers in a Dallas convention center, the Department of Health and Human Services told The Epoch Times.
Immigration lawyers told NBC News that some migrant families are sending their children alone to the southern border because they view it as the best chance for being allowed to stay in the United States.
The Biden administration is currently expelling all new asylum seekers arriving in the U.S due to coronavirus precautions, except for children who arrive by themselves, according to the report.
Immigration attorney Amy Maldonado said that the decision to send a child without a parent makes sense for these migrants, especially for those who have family members who are able to take care of the child in the U.S.
Officials in the Biden administration have said they are in a transitional period of changing the immigration system to a "more humane" policy, arguing the handling of the situation under Trump was too restrictive.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week that "because the president and our administration has made a decision that the way to humanely approach immigration is to allow for unaccompanied children to come and be treated with humanity and be in a safe place while we’re ... trying to get them into homes and sponsors homes," Fox News reported.
During the election campaign, Harris repeatedly condemned the Trump adminstration's treatment of minor children at the border, according to The Epoch Times.
"We have to stand up for our America when the Trump administration overlooks the fact that what is happening with the detention of these children by the circumstances by which they arrived is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government," Harris told a crowd in Florida outside a detention facility in 2019.
"We are not going to allow this to happen. Not on our watch. I will tell you: When I'm elected, the first thing I’ll do — one of the first things — is to shut down these private detention facilities."
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