More than 6,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended by immigration authorities were released into the United States last month, according to new government data.
The first month of this fiscal year, October, saw 6,051 unaccompanied minors — or an average of about 195 a day — released to sponsors living in the U.S., according to figures released this week by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Most sponsors are family members and in the country illegally themselves.
Nearly every state in the union received unaccompanied minors last month — the only states that did not were Vermont, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska.
The top five receiving states were California (824), Texas (781), Florida (574), New York (572) and Maryland (471).
Other states with relatively high unaccompanied minor totals last month include Virginia (428), New Jersey (363), Georgia (184), Louisiana (148), Massachusetts (158) North Carolina (166), Tennessee (152) and Alabama (92).
In recent years the southern border has seen a surge of unaccompanied minors and “family units” from Central America illegally entering the U.S. The pace of illegal migration has increased further in recent months. Many speculate that Donald Trump’s election and fears of a border wall has added to the already substantial northward migration.
Once apprehended by Border Patrol many border crossers are released into the U.S., ostensibly to await immigration hearings. Unaccompanied minors from noncontiguous countries are also granted special protections and placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
October continues a trend of high numbers of unaccompanied minors released into the country. In FY 2014 the Obama administration placed 53,515 unaccompanied minors with sponsors in the U.S. In FY 2015 that number dipped to 27,840 and last fiscal year the administration dispatched another 52,147 unaccompanied minors to sponsors throughout the U.S.
In February the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest — chaired by Trump’s nominee for attorney general Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions — revealed that few unaccompanied minors are being deported. According to the committee, the administration had an unaccompanied minor removal rate of just 3.6 percent from FY 2014 to the first half of FY 2016.