In October—which marks the beginning of the new fiscal year for the government—the number of unaccompanied alien minors (UACs) and family units crossing the Southern border unlawfully increased significantly compared to October 2014. Remarkably, even more UACs and family units came across the border in November.
While the Obama administration has claimed it was caught off guard by the surge this fall, a recently obtained official document proves the President’s team expected this border surge.
In a memo to the “Secretaries of the Military Departments Director, Joint Staff” dated November 25, Robert Salesses, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense reveals that “DoD has received a formal request for assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide temporary housing support for [UACs].” The memo goes on to solicit information about DoD facilities that are “able to accommodate at least 300 beds, and be available for at least 60 continuous days during calendar year 2016.”
Although not specified in the memo, the HHS formal request necessarily had to originate in early November or possibly late October. Importantly, the increase in unlawful border crossings in October and November bucks the historical trend of decreasing border crossings during the colder months. Thus, the fact that the Obama administration was soliciting additional detention space for UACs before it even published the October numbers shows it has been aware of the surge for a while but failed to take immediate actions to stop the influx.