Not sure how that's an excuse.
Also, what was the procedure before then?
It really hasn't changed much in the last two decades or so, this is from an article in 2011:
"Unaccompanied Child Immigrants in the United States
Although unaccompanied children come to the United States from all over the world, between 73 and 75 percent of unaccompanied children are boys from El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). In 2009, around 80 percent were between the ages of 15 and 18. Since many boys begin working around these ages, and since travel is safer for boys, they are more likely than girls to migrate alone.
A child apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) either via Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the border or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the interior of the United States must go through the following process:
Through a translator, ICE or CBP determines whether the child is unaccompanied.
If the child is unaccompanied, he or she is detained for up to 72 hours in a facility separate from adults, where the agency checks the child's nationality, determines the child's age through physical exams and psychological evaluations, and performs a background check. If the child has no identification, these checks are done based on what the child tells the evaluating official.
The child is given an explanation of his or her rights and a list of free legal services. If the child does not withdraw their application for admission, or if they wish to file an asylum claim, the child is transferred to ORR within 72 hours. ORR is then charged with the care, custody, and placement of the child. If the minor has a criminal record or is considered violent, he or she may be held in a secure facility. At this point, the minor may have access to a lawyer.
According to the Congressional Research Service, more than 80,000 children have been apprehended annually since 2001, the vast majority having migrated from Mexico.
Following a few years of record high levels of unaccompanied children in ICE custody, 6,074 children were placed in ORR care in 2009, a decrease of 35 percent from 2007 (the most recent years for which numbers are publicly available); the drop follows an overall dip in immigrant apprehensions nationwide. According to ORR, 1,871 children, on average, were in the agency's care daily in 2010."
January 24, 2011: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: A Growing Phenomenon with Few Easy Solutions