An eye-opening report on what happens to “unaccompanied children” or “UAC” after they cross the border into the United States.
Andrew Arthur with the Center for Immigration Studies highlights statistics showing where most of these children are placed once in the U.S.:
Generally, most [Unaccompanied Minors] are released to a parent or other family member in this country, the majority of whom do not have lawful status in the United States.–Andrew Arthur, Center for Immigration Studies
Arthur cites statistics made public by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin.
- Between July 2018 and January 2019, 23,445 UACs were released to sponsors.
- Of those sponsors, 18,459 (79%) had no status in the U.S.
- 21 were under final orders from removal.
- Six were denied asylum and were appealing to federal court.
- 638 (3%) were in removal proceedings.
Below are excerpts from Arthur’s findings. The entire report can be read here.
Flawed U.S. laws and policies encourage UACs to make that trip to the United States, and encourage the parents and other relatives of those UACs to pay criminal organizations to bring them to this country. In particular, [under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA)], the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is required to turn all of those UACs from non-contiguous countries (that is every country other than Canada and Mexico) over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 48 hours of the point at which they were identified as UACs, for prompt placement in the least restrictive setting “that is in the best interest of the child”. In FY 2018, the average UAC spent 60 days in an ORR shelter before being released.
There is strong evidence to support the conclusion that many, if not most, of these sponsors are the ones who are paying the smugglers to bring these UACs to the United States. For example, consider the order of Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in U.S. v. Nava-Martinez, in which the defendant was convicted of smuggling a Salvadoran minor to the United States:
This is the fourth case with the same factual situation this Court has had in as many weeks. In all the cases, human traffickers who smuggled minor children were apprehended short of delivering the children to their ultimate destination. In all cases, a parent, if not both parents, of the children was in this country illegally. That parent initiated the conspiracy to smuggle the minors into the country illegally. He or she also funded the conspiracy. In each case, the DHS completed the criminal conspiracy, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, by delivering the minors into the custody of the parent living illegally in the United States. In response to this Court’s inquiry about this policy in the instant case, the Government responded with a copy of the 1997 Flores v. Reno … settlement agreement and a copy of a portion of the Homeland Security Act. No other explanation was offered — no doubt because there is no explanation. The DHS has simply chosen not to enforce the United States’ border security laws.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, through March 2019, 35,898 UACs have been apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol entering the United States illegally in the first six months of FY 2019. That compares to 50,036 in all of FY 2018, and 41,435 in FY 2017.