Posted on August 14, 2023

Scoop: Biden Wants New Housing Program for Migrant Families

Stef W. Knight, Axios, August 11, 2023

The Biden administration is asking Congress to approve a temporary housing program for migrant families that illegally cross the southern border — a plan that would give them more freedom than traditional detention, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The government has struggled to balance humanitarian concerns about detaining migrant children while enforcing immigration laws amid a rise in families illegally crossing the border to seek asylum.

  • The administration’s ask is part of a $40 billion emergency funding request to Congress. The package includes nearly $2.7 billion for the Department of Homeland Security’s various border efforts.

Driving the news: DHS wants the ability to use funds to set up new types of facilities to hold migrant families as they go through an expedited asylum and deportation process.

  • Migrant family members would be able to come and go as they please during the day, but would be required to check in and stay the night on the campus, a DHS official told Axios.
  • “We do not view this as family detention,” the official said.
  • The facilities would allow immigration agencies to more easily keep track of migrants throughout the asylum process, but also could ease the burden on local shelters near the border to house recent arrivals, officials say.


Between the lines: The Biden administration quietly ended detentions of migrant families in 2021, while ramping up the use of tracking technology and check-ins by phone call as families make their way through the immigration process.

  • Faced with the end of restrictive pandemic policy called Title 42, the administration came under fire for considering a return to family detention.