The number of unaccompanied migrant children housed by the federal government jumped by more than 450 percent following President Barack Obama’s implementation of the DACA program in 2012. Government programs provided shelter to about 8,000 per year prior to implementation. After, the numbers jumped exponentially to an average of more than 44,000 annually.
Information obtained by Breitbart News from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency tasked with operating shelters for Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), revealed that prior to President Obama’s implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program in June 2012, the number of UACs housed in shelters operated by HHS averaged about 8,000 per year, officials stated. Since that time, the number jumped to a yearly average of more than 44,000–an increase of more than 450 percent.
The increase corresponded with the election-year DACA program announced by Obama in the summer of 2012.
The increase has shown a dramatic impact on the cost to U.S. taxpayers. As of January 13, HHS is housing approximately 10,500 UACs in roughly 100 shelters across 17 states, an agency official stated. During Fiscal Year 2018, the average duration of a migrant child’s stay in a facility was about 60 days.
The official stated that the average cost to house a migrant child in a regular shelter facility is about $256 per day. Therefore, the average cost per migrant child over the 60-day stay in an HHS shelter is approximately $15,360. This means the cost for the 10,500 unaccompanied minors currently being housed in HHS shelters is nearly $2.7 million per day, according to the numbers provided by HHS. If these migrant children were held for the full 60 days, the cost would reach nearly $164 million.
However, these numbers do not account for overflow situations where the cost of housing nearly triples to $775 per day or $46,500 per migrant child housed for the 60-day average. Breitbart News has requested information about how many migrant children are held in these overflow housing beds.
“HHS is committed to ensuring that all UAC referred to our custody are cared for appropriately,” the HHS official stated. “To do so, we make every effort to ensure funds are used as effectively as possible to provide safe shelter and adequate services and that costs are contained to the degree possible.”
Congress decreased the annual budget for housing UACs from nearly $1.6 billion in FY2018 to $1.3 billion in FY2019, according to HHS records.