Thu | Nov 23, 2017

Immigrant kids placed with adults who are in US illegally

Published:Wednesday | April 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Zoyla Cruz, from Los Angeles, with her daughters Sophie, 6, left, and Sahara, 2, participate in a rally for fair immigration reform at the Supreme Court in Washington, on Monday.
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LOS ANGELES (AP):

The vast majority of immigrant children who arrive alone at the US border are placed by the government with adults who are in the country illegally, federal data reviewed by The Associated Press show.

The government has long said that it places the children with family and friends regardless of immigration status. But since more children began arriving on the border in 2014, officials have not revealed how often those sponsors lack legal papers.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Department of Health and Human Services provided data showing that 80 percent of the 71,000 mostly Central American children placed between February 2014 and September 2015 were sent to sponsors who were not here legally.

Six percent were placed with adults who had temporary protected status, which has let some Central American citizens stay and work in the country legally for more than a decade. Four percent were sponsored by American citizens and one percent by immigrants facing deportation proceedings.

Many of the others were placed with sponsors who had other forms of legal status or who have filed immigration applications.

Tens of thousands of children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras arrived on the border in Texas in 2014, overwhelming border officials, overflowing government shelters and further backlogging the country's immigration courts.