Most of the 52,000 Central American minors who entered the United States illegally since October 2013 are now staying with family members in this country, though they remain subject to deportation, the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families said.
Ninety-six percent of the migrants processed through the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program have been given over to family members, HHS spokesman Kenneth J. Wolfe said.
From the moment their familes take charge of them, the youngsters are booked to appear in court, where it will be decided whether they can stay in the U.S. or not.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it does not know exactly how many of the immigrants released over the past two months have appeared in its offices to continue the deportation process.
Most of the youngsters come from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Due to the crisis of the massive entry of Central American children, three temporary shelters were opened at military bases in Texas, California and Oklahoma, Wolfe said.
The average time the minors can remain in the shelters is 35 days, and of the children who arrive there, 85 percent reunite with their families.
HHS has approximately 100 permanent shelters that are generally located in cities near the border.
According to ICE, the immigrants released at bus stations in Arizona after being transferred from Texas must appear within 15 days at the nearest ICE office.