The Department of Health and Human Services projects that 5,200 people claiming to be “unaccompanied minors” will have been referred to its care during November by U.S. border agencies.
That’s a record high compared to prior Novembers.
Last November, for example, just 1,927 people were referred to HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). In November 2013, ACF received 3,320 “unaccompanied minor” referrals.
Since 2010, the southern border has experienced a surge in illegal immigration by “unaccompanied minors” from Central America who — once apprehended — are placed in the care of ACF and subsequently delivered to family members or sponsors living in the U.S. to await immigration hearings.
Since late 2013, more than 81,000 young migrants have been released to sponsors inside the U.S.
Over the past few months the number of young people referred to ACF has steadily increased, with 4,173 referred in September and 4,603 referred in October.
In a weekly email from HHS to Congress shared with the media, ACF notes that the levels of young people being put in its care are “substantially above those in the previous two years.”
“Based on twenty-four days of November referrals, ACF projects a November total of 5,200 referrals,” the email reads. “Referrals have averaged 205 over the last four days. If referrals remained at this average for a month, referrals would total 6,165.”
The email further warns about the number of beds available to ACF in the face of the increases.
“The number of children in care is approximately 6,600. ACF has a total bed capacity of 8,400,” the email reads.