(CNSNews.com) – The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has released data updated as of Nov. 2 that show in the last two years 81,038 illegal alien minors who entered the U.S. without a parent or guardian were subsequently placed with adult sponsors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the “Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors By State” statistics and confirmed by a spokesman for the Administration for Children and Families – which operates ORR – 27,520 unaccompanied illegal alien minors have been released to sponsors around the United States in fiscal year 2015 (October 2014 to September 2015). This is in addition to the 53,518 children released into the United States in fiscal year 2014 (October 2013 to September 2014).
Those statistics bring the total of illegal alien children who were apprehended, placed with ORR and then released to sponsors over that time period to 81,038.
According to the data, the 10 states receiving the most of these illegal alien children are Texas (10,618), California (9,587), New York (8,570), Florida (8,330), Maryland (5,668), Virginia (5,563), New Jersey (4,120), Georgia (3,075), North Carolina (2,897), and Louisiana (2,220).
ORR defines an unaccompanied illegal alien minor as “a child who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian” and “is apprehended by immigration authorities.”
Federal law requires that the children be transferred from immigration authorities (Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Patrol) to ORR where they are provided with food, shelter and medical care until they can be released to sponsors. The average time an unaccompanied minor is in ORR custody is about a month, a spokesman for ACF told CNSNews.com.
The immigration courts ultimately decide whether a child is deported back to their country of origin.
“Sponsors are adults who are suitable to provide for the child’s physical and mental well-being and have not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child,” the report stated.
Once a minor is released to a sponsor by ACF’s ORR - both part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or HHS - the jurisdiction for those minors is transferred to the Department of Justice’s immigration courts, an ACF spokesman told CNSNews.com.
The report stated that all sponsors have passed a background check and must agree to “ensure the minor reports to ICE for removal from the United States if an immigration judge issues a removal order or voluntary departure order.”
The report stated: “HHS has strong policies in place to ensure the privacy and safety of unaccompanied children by maintaining the confidentiality of their personal information. These children may have histories of abuse or may be seeking safety from threats of violence. They may have been trafficked or smuggled. HHS cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.”
The report only provides the number of children released to sponsors by state and does not report on legal status of those minors or their country of origin.