Jan 16, 2019 - Politics & Policy

A turnaround in the migrant child crisis

Data: AP; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: AP; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

After reaching a record-breaking number of 14,542 migrant children in its custody last month, the Department of Health and Human Services has released more than 3,500 children, according to data collected by the Associated Press from individual HHS migrant child shelters.

Why it matters: While President Trump keeps the government shut down over his demands for a border wall, one aspect of the humanitarian crisis seems to be coming back under control.

The big picture: The controversial tent city in Tornillo, Texas, has been closed, but there are still more than 10,000 migrant minors still in HHS shelters — 50% more than there were at the same time last year.

By the numbers: Around 94% of the unaccompanied children were released to sponsors — the majority of which are family members already in the U.S. In addition, 3% were released because they turned 18, and 3% under other circumstances, an HHS spokesperson told Axios.

  • HHS has sped up its process for finding relatives or other families to care for the kids by no longer requiring that every household member of a sponsor family be fingerprinted.
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