Most of the unaccompanied children who have been placed with relatives or other adults since surging across the border this year are in Texas, followed by New York, Florida and California, according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Nearly 4,300 children have been placed in Texas while their immigration cases are heard. More than 3,000 are in each of New York, Florida and California, and 2,200 in each of Virginia and Maryland.
The state-by-state breakdown accounts for about 30,000 children who have gone to sponsors between January 1 and July 7, according to the Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.
Some 57,000 unaccompanied children have been picked up at the border since October, though in the last four weeks, the numbers have dropped. The Associated Press has reported that fewer than 2,000 have been sent back.
The Administration for Children and Families said that 52,880 children were referred by Homeland Security to its Unaccompanied Alien Children program during the 2014 fiscal year, which began in October. So far, 47,695 of those have been placed with sponsors.
The surge of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States has prompted protests across the country and spurred Texas Gov. Rick Perry to say he would deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. The crisis has also sparked a stalement between the Obama administration and Congress. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency money for immigration judges, detention facilites and other resources to handle the influx of children, but many Republicans first want revisons to the law dictating how the children are treated.
The Obama administration is also considering screening children in Honduras to determine whether they are eligible for refugee status.
Most children are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. They are coming to the United States to escape violence, to find relatives already in the United States, to find work or were brought to the United States by trafficking rings, according to the administration.
The children are turned over to the Children and Families’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, which tries to place them with parents or other relatives or friends. If no suitable sponsor can be found the children remain in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Typically between 7,000 and 8,000 children are served by the program, but the number jumped dramatically to about 13,625 between October 2011 and September 2012 and then more recently.
The office maintains 100 short-term shelters throughout the United States, but because of the recent surge in numbers, it has had to open three temporary ones — at the Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas, the Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme in California and Fort Sill in Oklahoma. The capacity for each is nearly 3,000 beds.
The state-by-state breakdown is here.