Customs and Border Protection agents are running out of space to shelter the hundreds of migrant children who have been separated from their parents at the United States border as part of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.
The original plan for housing the children was to keep them in custody in U.S. border stations, and eventually military bases, instead of keeping them at the same detention facilities as their parents.
CBP established 72 hours as the maximum amount of time that an immigrant of any age can stay in temporary government facilities—but nearly 300 of the 550 children currently in custody at U.S. border stations had spent over 72 hours there as of Sunday.
Almost half of the 300 children are younger than 12 years old, NBC reports, meaning that they are classified as "tender age children" by the Department of Homeland Security.
"What's happening now is a broad indication of a total lack of planning or forethought for the policy they enacted," Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for the immigration reform group FWD.us, told NBC. Boogard was previously a White House and National Security Council spokesman as well as the deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.
The decision to detain migrant children separately from their parents may slow down an already-clogged immigration system by creating a daycare-like scenario within detention centers not equipped with the appropriate medical and nutritional resources for young children.
"Instead of having Border Patrol agents at the border, you have them taking care of kids at border stations," Boogaard said.