IN-DEPTH: What Happens to Unaccompanied Minors Who Illegally Enter the US

With thousands of people entering the United States illegally, every town is a potential border town faced with absorbing large influxes of illegal immigrants who will need food, shelter, clothing, and money. Some are bused to large cities far from the border, some have been flown—often in the middle of the night—to a myriad of destinations.
Many are unaccompanied minors—age 17 and under—and although the government has 296 “Influx Care Facilities” located in 27 states to house such minors, it does not make clear precisely where the minors are sent.
When unaccompanied minors illegally cross into the United States and are apprehended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), they are transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is legally required to provide care for all unaccompanied children referred to it while their claims to immigration are processed, or until they are placed with a sponsor, which may be a parent or relative….

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