The Obama administration released 20,360 unaccompanied minors into communities and towns throughout the United States during the first three months of this fiscal year, according to data released Monday by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
The new ORR data reveals that during the last full month of former President Barack Obama’s presidency, his administration released 7,686 unaccompanied minors – or an average of about 248 per day — to sponsors living in the United States. Sponsors are largely family members, often in the United States illegally themselves.
In recent years, large waves of unaccompanied minors and family units from Central America have been apprehended illegally entering the United States. Many have been released into the United States to await immigration hearings. Unaccompanied minors from noncontiguous countries receive special attention. Once they are apprehended by immigration officials, they are transferred to the care to ORR, which takes custody until it places the minors with sponsors in the United States.
“HHS is engaging with state officials to address concerns they may have about the care or impact of unaccompanied children in their states, while making sure the children are treated humanely and consistent with the law as they go through immigration court proceedings that will determine whether they will be removed and repatriated, or qualify for some form of relief,” ORR explains on its website.
So far, over the first three months of this fiscal year — which began in October — ORR has released unaccompanied minors to sponsors in every state in except for Vermont and Montana.
The top 10 states that have received the most unaccompanied minors include: California (2,852), Texas (2,549), New York (2,004), Florida (1,905), Maryland (1,564), Virginia (1,465), New Jersey (1,124), Georgia (629), North Carolina (618), and Tennessee (534).
If the pace of unaccompanied minor releases continues the total will exceed the 52,147 released last fiscal year and the 53,515 released in FY 2014 — not to mention the 27,840 released in FY 2015. To be sure, President Donald Trump, who took office this month, has promised a crackdown on illegal immigration in the United States.