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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

What do we do with children who illegally cross the border alone?

What do we do with children who illegally cross the border alone?

When federal immigration authorities catch unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally, the authorities are required to follow certain steps based on the idea that the children should be well cared for while the government figures out what to do with them. But a recent Senate report suggests the government has failed some of these children in troubling ways.

Under federal law, when immigration officials detain an unaccompanied minor, they must transfer the child to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, which then tries to place him or her with a sponsor while the immigration case proceeds. More than half eventually go to live with a parent, and most...

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