Biden administration tells facilities for migrant children to reopen to pre-pandemic levels

The Biden administration has notified facilities caring for migrant children that they can open back up to pre-Covid-19 levels, acknowledging “extraordinary circumstances” due to a rising number of minors crossing the US-Mexico border, according to a memo obtained by CNN.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with the care of children who cross the US-Mexico border alone, has been operating under reduced capacity to account for Covid-19 precautions. But with an increasing number of unaccompanied children at the border, shelter capacity has run thin.

There are approximately 7,700 unaccompanied children in HHS care. The department has around 13,650 beds to accommodate children when not under reduced capacity. The latest move is intended to bring that space back online.

The memo calls the situation an “extraordinary” circumstance and says “facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases,” citing the nature of the pandemic and acknowledging “there is no 0% risk scenario.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.