WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The Department of Health and Human Services is estimating that the number of unaccompanied alien children who will be caught having illegally entered the country will rise to 60,000 in 2014, according to its new budget.
That is up about 815 percent from 6,560 back in 2011.
“Since fiscal year 2011, the annual number or arriving UAC has increased from 6,560 to an estimated 60,000 for fiscal year 2014,” Health and Human Services explained in its “Budget in Brief.”
A fact sheet published by HHS showed that the beginning of fiscal year 2012, the number of these children started to dramatically increase.
“On average between 7,000 and 8,000 children are served annually in this program,” the fact sheet stated. “In fiscal year 2012, this number jumped dramatically, with a total of 13,625 children served by ORR that year. In fiscal year 2013, this overall increase continued, resulting in 24,668 UAC referrals from DHS for the 12-month reporting period.”
The fact sheet defines an unaccompanied alien child as “a child who has no lawful immigration status in the United States, has not attained 18 years of age; and, with respect to whom, there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States, or no parent or legal guardian in the United States available to provide care and physical custody.”
The majority of unaccompanied alien children in the U.S. come from Central America, according to HHS.
“Most are over 14 and approximately three quarters of them are boys,” the fact sheet says. “In fiscal year 2013, origin of youth in this program was as follows: Guatemala (37%), El Salvador (26%), Honduras (30%), Mexico (3%), Ecuador (2%), and Other (3%). Over the years, the breakdown per country of origin has remained relatively constant.”
According to ACF, the top reasons that unaccompanied children come into this country are “to escape violence, abuse or persecution in their home countries; to find family members already residing in the U.S.; to seek work to support themselves, their family, or their own children; were brought into the U.S. by human trafficking rings.”