Number of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in U.S. Custody Tops 14,000

The number of unaccompanied immigrant minors in the United States topped 14,000 for the first time, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. The number of unaccompanied immigrant children in the custody of Health and Human Services reportedly reached 14,056 as of Friday, breaking a record that was set just two months ago. The newspaper reports that the rise can be attributed to children spending a longer time in holding facilities. Children reportedly have to wait longer periods of time while background checks process for adults who are claiming custody of them.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also confirmed in September that the agency was using information from background checks to arrest undocumented people who came forward to claim the children, leaving the minors in government care for an even longer period of time. While the Trump administration’s family-separation policy brought attention to unaccompanied immigrant minors, many of the children who were forcibly separated from their families this summer are now reunited or are out of the government system. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman, Evelyn Stauffer, told the Chronicle the growing number of children in government care was due to a “broken immigration system” and a “crisis at the border.”