Photo: Illegal Border Crossers Children
Every day, 80 to 120 children cross the Texas border illegally — and alone.
What’s happening in Texas reflects a nationwide trend: Immigration by undocumented children under 18 is on the rise, even as fewer adults come into the country illegally.
The Border Patrol apprehended 24,481 unaccompanied children in 2012, more than three times than in 2008. Of that total, federal authorities referred a record 13,625 children to another part of the federal government, called the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the U.S. Health and Human Services. This agency is responsible for the care and custody of minor children while their immigration status is considered.
These children, most of them teenagers, are temporarily cared for by the federal government in shelters and group homes in more than a dozen states, including Texas, Illinois, Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Virginia. The federal government foots the bill, but states feel the impact. Last year, Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called the surge of children crossing the border a “humanitarian crisis.”
The remaining 10,000-plus children caught at the border last year were mostly from Mexico, and many were sent home.