Desperate Biden’s plea for border help: Feds beg for volunteers to deal with migrant crisis

The Biden administration is asking for ‘volunteers’ from other federal agencies to assist border officials struggling to cope with a massive surge in illegal border crossing, as a Democrat in Congress released new photos of overcrowded holding facilities.

A memo from the federal Office of Personnel Management is asking various government agencies to send staff on ‘volunteer deployments’ at the border of up to 120 days, according to Fox News

Border officials have been overwhelmed by the surge, and thousands of minors are stuck in substandard holding facilities as the government struggles through a backlog to process them. 

More than 16,000 unaccompanied children were in government custody as of Thursday, including about 5,000 in substandard Customs and Border Protection facilities. 

President Joe Biden is seen on Sunday. His administration is asking for 'volunteers' from other federal agencies to assist border officials struggling to cope with a massive surge in illegal border crossing

President Joe Biden is seen on Sunday. His administration is asking for 'volunteers' from other federal agencies to assist border officials struggling to cope with a massive surge in illegal border crossing

President Joe Biden is seen on Sunday. His administration is asking for ‘volunteers’ from other federal agencies to assist border officials struggling to cope with a massive surge in illegal border crossing

Unaccompanied children at a holding facility in Donna, Texas are seen in a handout photograph courtesy of the Office of Congressman Henry Cuellar, released on March 22

Unaccompanied children at a holding facility in Donna, Texas are seen in a handout photograph courtesy of the Office of Congressman Henry Cuellar, released on March 22

Unaccompanied children at a holding facility in Donna, Texas are seen in a handout photograph courtesy of the Office of Congressman Henry Cuellar, released on March 22

Photos from Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, shared these photos on March 22 of the Donna holding facility

Photos from Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, shared these photos on March 22 of the Donna holding facility

Photos from Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, shared these photos on March 22 of the Donna holding facility

Central American migrant children, who are seeking asylum or have been deported from the US, are living in a shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Central American migrant children, who are seeking asylum or have been deported from the US, are living in a shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Central American migrant children, who are seeking asylum or have been deported from the US, are living in a shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The federal Office of Personnel Management is hoping volunteers can assist in dealing with the surge in unaccompanied minors

The federal Office of Personnel Management is hoping volunteers can assist in dealing with the surge in unaccompanied minors

The federal Office of Personnel Management is hoping volunteers can assist in dealing with the surge in unaccompanied minors

Now OPM is hoping volunteers from other agencies can assist CPB and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in dealing with the surge in unaccompanied minors. 

‘We are actively working to screen, process and deploy these volunteers while continuing our recruitment efforts and exploration of other avenues to bolster staff resources at the border,’ an OPM spokesperson said. 

ORR, an office within Health and Human Services, is building huge new facilities for the migrants in Dallas, San Diego, San Antonio and Fort Bliss, an Army base near El Paso.

‘ORR provides a continuum of care for children, including placements in ORR foster care, shelter, and residential care providers that provide temporary housing and other services to unaccompanied children in ORR custody,’ Kathleen McGettigan, acting director of OPM, told Fox News. 

‘ORR and its care providers work to ensure that children are released timely and safely from ORR custody to parents, other family members, or other adults … who can care for the child’s physical and mental well-being,’ McGettigan said.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to block the press from entering the overcrowded holding facilities, a departure from policy under both the Obama and Trump administrations. 

Federal lawmakers do have access though, and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, on Thursday shared new images from inside a facility in the Rio Grande Valley.

The images were shared exclusively with CBS News and can be seen in an interview he gave with Face The Nation.  

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'Out of the 5,000 plus they have at the Rio Grande, over 65 percent are unaccompanied kids,' Cuellar told CBS News

'Out of the 5,000 plus they have at the Rio Grande, over 65 percent are unaccompanied kids,' Cuellar told CBS News

‘Out of the 5,000 plus they have at the Rio Grande, over 65 percent are unaccompanied kids,’ Cuellar told CBS News

Migrants are seen inside of a US Customs and Border Protection temporary overflow facility in Donna, Texas on March 22

Migrants are seen inside of a US Customs and Border Protection temporary overflow facility in Donna, Texas on March 22

Migrants are seen inside of a US Customs and Border Protection temporary overflow facility in Donna, Texas on March 22

Cuellar said that most single adults apprehended at the border were being expelled, but that unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with children are typically allowed to remain in the U.S.

Cuellar said that most single adults apprehended at the border were being expelled, but that unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with children are typically allowed to remain in the U.S.

Cuellar said that most single adults apprehended at the border were being expelled, but that unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with children are typically allowed to remain in the U.S.

‘Out of the 5,000 plus they have at the Rio Grande, over 65 percent are unaccompanied kids,’ Cuellar said in the interview. 

Cuellar said that most single adults apprehended at the border were being expelled, but that unaccompanied minors and adults traveling with children are typically allowed to remain in the U.S.

‘Over 2,000 of them have been released into the United States without a notice to appear’ in immigration court, Cuellar said. 

Cuellar last week shared other images taken inside the Rio Grande facility, which show similar crowded conditions. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday the Biden administration was committed to transparency and ‘we’re working to get that done as soon as we can.’

But she declined to provide a specific date for when the media will get access to Border Patrol facilities temporarily holding thousands of migrant children.

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been calling on the administration to open the facilities to the cameras, asserting that the current policy is designed to keep the public from ‘fully realizing’ what is happening at the border.

Immigrants arrive illegally into the US on Saturday across the Rio Grande river from Mexico, near the border city of Roma

Immigrants arrive illegally into the US on Saturday across the Rio Grande river from Mexico, near the border city of Roma

Immigrants arrive illegally into the US on Saturday across the Rio Grande river from Mexico, near the border city of Roma

Migrant families were smuggled across the Rio Grande river from Mexico to the US in inflatable boats

Migrant families were smuggled across the Rio Grande river from Mexico to the US in inflatable boats

Migrant families were smuggled across the Rio Grande river from Mexico to the US in inflatable boats

Migrants arrive in the US near Roma, a town of 10,000 people that has become the latest epicenter for illegal crossings, where growing numbers of families and children are entering the US to seek asylum

Migrants arrive in the US near Roma, a town of 10,000 people that has become the latest epicenter for illegal crossings, where growing numbers of families and children are entering the US to seek asylum

Migrants arrive in the US near Roma, a town of 10,000 people that has become the latest epicenter for illegal crossings, where growing numbers of families and children are entering the US to seek asylum

An unaccompanied Guatemalan child immigrants, who both arrived illegally across the Rio Grande river from Mexico line up on Saturday at a processing checkpoint before being detained by border patrol agents in the border city of Roma

An unaccompanied Guatemalan child immigrants, who both arrived illegally across the Rio Grande river from Mexico line up on Saturday at a processing checkpoint before being detained by border patrol agents in the border city of Roma

An unaccompanied Guatemalan child immigrants, who both arrived illegally across the Rio Grande river from Mexico line up on Saturday at a processing checkpoint before being detained by border patrol agents in the border city of Roma

A family of immigrants who arrived illegally across the Rio Grande river from Mexico stand in line at a processing checkpoint on Saturday before being detained at a holding facility by border patrol agents in the border city of Roma

A family of immigrants who arrived illegally across the Rio Grande river from Mexico stand in line at a processing checkpoint on Saturday before being detained at a holding facility by border patrol agents in the border city of Roma

A family of immigrants who arrived illegally across the Rio Grande river from Mexico stand in line at a processing checkpoint on Saturday before being detained at a holding facility by border patrol agents in the border city of Roma

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, called on the president to let the media accompany him to a temporary detention facility in Dallas on Monday.

‘I again urge you to stop denying reality, confront the consequences of your policies, and allow the media access to these facilities,’ Cruz wrote in a letter.

Cruz, after leading a delegation of GOP senators to the border on Friday and Saturday, next plans to tour the Dallas convention center, which has been converted into a massive ORR facility for unaccompanied migrants. 

Republican officials are also blaming the Biden administration for actions they say are leading more people from Central America to seek entry into the United States. 

‘It’s not a crisis, it’s a complete loss of sovereignty down there,’ Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said.

Graham recently visited the border and said he saw a facility designed to hold 80 children with about 1,000 in it. He called on the administration to turn away every unaccompanied minor after testing them for ‘human trafficking abuses.’

‘If you don’t, we’ll have 150,000 a month by this summer,’ Graham said Sunday.

'It's not a crisis, it's a complete loss of sovereignty down there,' Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said

'It's not a crisis, it's a complete loss of sovereignty down there,' Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said

‘It’s not a crisis, it’s a complete loss of sovereignty down there,’ Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said

U.S. Border Patrol agents process a group of people they caught crossing the border from Mexico on Saturday in Penitas, Texas. The group ran from the agents before being caught.

U.S. Border Patrol agents process a group of people they caught crossing the border from Mexico on Saturday in Penitas, Texas. The group ran from the agents before being caught.

U.S. Border Patrol agents process a group of people they caught crossing the border from Mexico on Saturday in Penitas, Texas. The group ran from the agents before being caught.

Migrants who attempted to flee Border Patrol wait to be transported after being caught by U.S. Border Patrol agents illegally crossing the border from Mexico on Saturday in Penitas, Texas

Migrants who attempted to flee Border Patrol wait to be transported after being caught by U.S. Border Patrol agents illegally crossing the border from Mexico on Saturday in Penitas, Texas

Migrants who attempted to flee Border Patrol wait to be transported after being caught by U.S. Border Patrol agents illegally crossing the border from Mexico on Saturday in Penitas, Texas

U.S. authorities reported encounters with more than 100,000 migrants on the southern border in February, the highest since a four-month streak in 2019.

Encounters have averaged about 5,000 people per day throughout March, which would be about a 50 percent increase over February if those figures hold for the entire month.

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield claimed the surge was seasonal and unconnected to Biden’s new border policies.

‘They’re not the result of one administration’s policies or another administration´s policies. They’re the result of, for example, weather disasters in the region. They´re the result of people fleeing poverty and violence,’ Bedingfield said. 

‘So we saw spikes in 2014. We saw them in 2019 when the Trump administration had perhaps the cruelest imaginable policies in place, family separation to try to deter people from coming, and they still came.’

The Biden administration continued to emphasize on the Sunday talk shows that the U.S.-Mexico border ‘remains closed’ and that the majority of adults are being turned away. But Psaki said the administration was not going to force children to go back on a treacherous journey.

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, called on the president to let the media accompany him to a temporary detention facility in Dallas on Monday

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, called on the president to let the media accompany him to a temporary detention facility in Dallas on Monday

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, called on the president to let the media accompany him to a temporary detention facility in Dallas on Monday

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday the Biden administration was committed to transparency and 'we're working to get that done as soon as we can.'

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday the Biden administration was committed to transparency and 'we're working to get that done as soon as we can.'

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday the Biden administration was committed to transparency and ‘we’re working to get that done as soon as we can.’

‘They are fleeing challenging economic circumstances, hurricanes, prosecution in some scenarios,’ she said. 

‘It does not mean that they get to stay in the United States. It means their cases are adjudicated and we want to treat them humanely, make sure they are in a safe place while their cases are adjudicated. That´s what we´re talking about here.’

Former President Donald Trump expanded and fortified border walls while championing ‘zero tolerance’ policies that made it more difficult to seek U.S. asylum and led to some immigrant parents being separated from their children.

Under federal law, children arriving at the border without parents should be transferred within three days from U.S. Border Patrol custody to long-term facilities run by U.S. Health and Human Services until they can be released to family members or sponsors.

Psaki said the administration is committed to transparency and providing access to those temporary Border Patrol facilities as soon as it can.

‘We are mindful of the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic. We want to keep these kids safe, keep the staff safe,’ Psaki said.

Psaki and Graham spoke on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ while Bedingfield was interviewed on ABC’s ‘The Week.’ 

U.S. authorities reported encounters with more than 100,000 migrants on the southern border in February, the highest since a four-month streak in 2019

U.S. authorities reported encounters with more than 100,000 migrants on the southern border in February, the highest since a four-month streak in 2019

U.S. authorities reported encounters with more than 100,000 migrants on the southern border in February, the highest since a four-month streak in 2019

Migrants from Guatemala and Honduras are questioned by a Border Patrol agent after being landing in Roma, Texas, on an inflatable raft on Sunday

Migrants from Guatemala and Honduras are questioned by a Border Patrol agent after being landing in Roma, Texas, on an inflatable raft on Sunday

 Migrants from Guatemala and Honduras are questioned by a Border Patrol agent after being landing in Roma, Texas, on an inflatable raft on Sunday

Encounters have averaged about 5,000 people per day throughout March, which would be about a 50 percent increase over February if those figures hold for the entire month

Encounters have averaged about 5,000 people per day throughout March, which would be about a 50 percent increase over February if those figures hold for the entire month

Encounters have averaged about 5,000 people per day throughout March, which would be about a 50 percent increase over February if those figures hold for the entire month

The US has seen growing numbers of families and unaccompanied minors entering the US illegally and planning to claim asylum

The US has seen growing numbers of families and unaccompanied minors entering the US illegally and planning to claim asylum

The US has seen growing numbers of families and unaccompanied minors entering the US illegally and planning to claim asylum

Many groups of migrants have  turned themselves into US Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande and landing in Roma

Many groups of migrants have  turned themselves into US Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande and landing in Roma

Many groups of migrants have  turned themselves into US Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande and landing in Roma

According to the Biden administration, the Mexico-US border 'remains closed' and the majority of adult migrants will be turned away

According to the Biden administration, the Mexico-US border 'remains closed' and the majority of adult migrants will be turned away

According to the Biden administration, the Mexico-US border ‘remains closed’ and the majority of adult migrants will be turned away

However, Psaki said the administration was not going to force children to go back on a treacherous journey

However, Psaki said the administration was not going to force children to go back on a treacherous journey

However, Psaki said the administration was not going to force children to go back on a treacherous journey

Migrants from Central America have to travel through Mexico to reach the US border (pictured, migrants rest under a tree in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico)

Migrants from Central America have to travel through Mexico to reach the US border (pictured, migrants rest under a tree in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico)

Migrants from Central America have to travel through Mexico to reach the US border (pictured, migrants rest under a tree in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico)

Central American children, who travelled to the US with their parents, were deported and are now living in a shelter in Mexico

Central American children, who travelled to the US with their parents, were deported and are now living in a shelter in Mexico

Central American children, who travelled to the US with their parents, were deported and are now living in a shelter in Mexico

Most migrants are seeking asylum in the US, such as the young boy and his mother (pictured), who are attending a Palm Sunday mass at a shelter in Mexico

Most migrants are seeking asylum in the US, such as the young boy and his mother (pictured), who are attending a Palm Sunday mass at a shelter in Mexico

Most migrants are seeking asylum in the US, such as the young boy and his mother (pictured), who are attending a Palm Sunday mass at a shelter in Mexico

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