According to federal data released earlier this week, the vast majority of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border en masse this year are being reunited with their families. A total of 30,340 children have found placements. In California alone, 3,150 children have been placed with relatives, according to The New York Times.
As the Times points out, these numbers don’t include a large number of children still in shelters. But officials say half the children have been reunited with families. Here’s the Times with more:
Officials have said that more than half of all children initially placed in shelters have gone on to be reunited with at least one parent already living in the United States, and 85 percent of all children have been placed with a close family member.
Sponsors must be vetted by social workers, a process that includes a criminal-background check, and must also promise to make sure that the child appears for required immigration court appearances. The adults do not have to be citizens or legal permanent residents, and officials have acknowledged that some sponsors may be living in the United States illegally.
Children who are not able to find qualified sponsors are placed in long-term shelters or in foster care. Roughly 10 percent of the unaccompanied minors who have been taken into custody this year have been placed in such care, which is overseen by the federal Administration for Children and Families, said Kenneth J. Wolfe, a spokesman for the department.
Mission Local recently reported on the struggle of local nonprofit organizations to keep up with the demand of unaccompanied minors who are arriving in the Bay Area and seeking to reunite with family members or loved ones. The federal government has opened shelters with 3,000 beds on military bases in Texas, California and Oklahoma in order to house the influx of immigrant children.