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March 10, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Biden administration scrambles to respond to surge of migrant children at border

Migrants from Central America camp outside the El Chaparral border crossing, hoping to cross and request asylum in the U.S, in Tijuana, Mexico February 27, 2021. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. For a transcript of the video, click here

Summary: The situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is increasingly challenging the Biden administration, with the number of detained migrant children tripling in recent weeks, according to the New York Times. Almost half are being held longer than permitted by law.

  • There are currently over 3,000 minors held at the border, a substantial increase from recent weeks, stated the New York Times.
  • Many are being held longer than the three days permitted by law.
  • The Biden administration is still developing a process that would allow unaccompanied minors crossing the border to make legal refugee claims, including petitions to join parents who may be living in the U.S.
  • Still, few adults are permitted to cross the border, due to both immigration and COVID restrictions.
  • A surge of unaccompanied minors from Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras began around 2014. In that year alone, federal authorities apprehended over 66,000 children.

Discussion:

Warm up questions: 

  1. Who is interviewed in this piece and what is her background?
  2. What happens to unaccompanied minors who cross into the United States along the southern border?
  3. Where and When did a surge of unaccompanied minors trying to enter the U.S. begin?
  4. Why are minors being held longer than the legal limit of 72 hours?
  5. How is the Biden administration planning to address the current surge of unaccompanied minors on the border?

Focus questions:

  1. What do you think are some consequences of failing to update immigration law in the U.S.?
  2. What do you think life is like for children who travel to the U.S. alone to try and gain entry?

Media literacy: Who is interviewed in this piece, what organization does she represent and why do you think she was chosen to speak about the current crisis?

Additional resources:

  • Why might a young person leave their home to travel to the U.S. alone? You can read one account here, adapted in the New York Times from the book Solito, Solita, made up of accounts of children crossing alone into the United States.

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