200 Unaccompanied Kids in Border Patrol Custody

CARRIZO SPRINGS, Texas (AP) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection says only 200 unaccompanied immigrant children remain in Border Patrol custody. That’s compared to up to 2,700 children the agency had last month.

Children who travel to the U.S. alone or who arrive with relatives who aren’t parents or legal guardians are considered unaccompanied minors. They are supposed to be turned over within 72 hours to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which contracts with shelters. HHS then releases the children to a vetted sponsor, usually a relative.

But a spike in the number of unaccompanied kids and a delay in HHS picking them up resulted in children languishing in overcrowded Border Patrol facilities for weeks.

The agency says HHS has been able to pick up kids from CBP custody much more quickly since getting more funding. HHS has not responded to a request for comment.

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