When a child who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is apprehended by immigration authorities, the child is transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Federal law requires that ORR feed, shelter, and provide medical care for unaccompanied children until it is able to release them to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings. These sponsors live in many states.
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. All sponsors must pass a background check. The sponsor must agree to ensure the child's presence at all future immigration proceedings. They also 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.
HHS is engaging with state officials to address concerns they may have about the care or impact of unaccompanied children in their states, while making sure the children are treated humanely and consistent with the law as they go through immigration court proceedings that will determine whether they will be removed and repatriated, or qualify for some form of relief.
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 data in the table below shows state-by-state data of unaccompanied children released to sponsors as of January 31, 2021. ACF will update this data each month. View unaccompanied alien children released to sponsors by county.
Please note: ORR makes considerable effort to provide precise and timely data to the public, but adjustments occasionally occur following review and reconciliation. The FY2014 release data posted in the chart below were updated on March 13, 2015. The FY2015 release data were updated May 9, 2016. The FY2017 release data were updated May 22, 2018. The FY2018 release data were updated December 3, 2019. Questions may be addressed to ORR directly, at (202) 401-9246.
Unaccompanied Children Release Data
|State||Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY15 (Oct. 2014 – Sep. 2015)||Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY16 (Oct. 2015 – Sep. 2016)||Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY17 (Oct. 2016 – Sep. 2017)||Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY18 (Oct. 2017 – Sep. 2018)||Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY19 (Oct. 2018 – Sep. 2019)||Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY20 (Oct. 2019 – Sep. 2020)||Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY21 (Oct. 2020 – Jan. 2021)|
Content created by Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Content last reviewed on February 25, 2021