According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the federal government has released more than 37,000 illegal immigrant children to adults across the U.S. in the first seven months of 2014.
This number represents more than 56% of the children who have crossed into the U.S. illegally. The children have been released to family members across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that more than 66,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended after crossing the border between Oct. 1, 2013 and the end of Aug. 2014.
This is an astonishing figure because it correlates to an 88% increase over the last fiscal year.
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The children who have not been sent to families within the U.S. still remain in 116 shelters operated with taxpayer dollars in at least 16 states.
In order to cope with the influx of children, many of them feeling violence in Central America, the federal government has proposed opening 46 more shelters across 27 more states.
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HHS refuses to divulge the locations of the current 116 shelters, which are responsible for feeding, educating and providing medical care to the children. The lack of information available to the public has drawn heavy criticism from many groups: although many of the shelters are dependent on primarily public money, they have also evaded public scrutiny.
In August, the Los Angeles Times reported that of the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children, the Department of Homeland Security had deported a mere 294 Central Americans.
The Washington Times reports that federal authorities’ decision to place children in counties across the country is proving to have costly and demanding effects, particularly upon school districts.
In Alexandria, Va., for example, 205 immigrant children have been placed in a city of fewer than 150,000 people. This could account for more than a 1% increase in the county’s school-age population, and accordingly, a higher percentage of students likely to need intensive help with English and other remedial education programs.
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