A group of 107 asylum-seeking migrants from Central America could be seen heading to the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Penitas, Texas, on Friday (March 26).
The group, which crossed the Rio Grande River on rafts earlier, began walking just around sunrise.
They encountered U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who provided them with large plastic bags to hold their belongings and arranged transportation to the wall.
Speaking at his first White House news conference a day earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden Biden defended his handling of rising migration at the U.S.-Mexico border and his decision to roll back immigration policies of his Republican predecessor.
The Trump-era order allows border agents to rapidly expel migrants without giving them a chance to claim asylum, but it has angered civil rights groups, who say it is illegal.
The number of migrants caught at the border has climbed sharply in recent weeks, thrusting Biden into an emerging humanitarian and political crisis a little more than two months after he took office.
The Biden administration has struggled to house the children arriving without a parent or legal guardian, which has left them stuck in crowded border facilities for days.
About two-thirds of unaccompanied children caught at the border since Oct. 1, 2020, have been from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Mexican children make up most of the remainder.
As of Wednesday (March 24), more than 11,000 unaccompanied children were in the custody of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) refugee office that manages a government shelter system – the highest number since 2019.
Most of the children in custody are teenagers, but hundreds are under 12 years old. The majority of unaccompanied children apprehended since Oct. 1, 2020, crossed through the Rio Grande Valley into Texas, according to CBP.
(Production: Adrees Latif and Deborah Gembara)