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Record number of immigrant children in U.S. shelters

On Thanksgiving, a girl stands next to messages tacked to the US-Mexico border fence in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

A record 14,030 immigrant children were in shelters across the country as of last week, one-third of them in Texas, the Houston Chronicle's Lomi Kriel reports.

Why it matters: "It is almost three times the number of children in federal detention a year ago."

Why it's happening: "Advocates largely fault a new government requirement, implemented this summer, that requires all adults in a household seeking to care for an immigrant child to submit their fingerprints for a background check. That information is shared with the Department of Homeland Security and at least 41 so-called sponsors lacking legal status have been arrested,

"Under a California judge’s orders, most of the separated families have now been reunited, and almost all of the children currently in shelters came here on their own."

  • But the kids are "being detained longer — an average of 75 days in August, compared to 59 days in June and 41 days in fiscal year 2017."
  • "The daily discharge rate plummeted to 1 percent as of Nov. 15, meaning far more children are being placed in shelters than released."

P.S. Immigration remained a flashpoint even on Thanksgiving, generating two of the day's top stories:

  • Hillary Clinton said in an interview with The Guardian that Europe must get a handle on immigration to combat a growing threat from rightwing populists, and said the continent’s leaders need to send out a stronger signal that they are “not going to be able to continue to provide refuge and support."
  • At Mar-a-Lago, President Trump threatened to close "the whole border": "If we find that it’s uncontrollable, ..., if we find that it gets to a level where we lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we’re going to close entry into the country for a period of time until we get it under control."
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