New York has received the 4th greatest number of unaccompanied minors from the border



(The Center Square) – New York has received the fourth greatest number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) arriving at the border of 8,477 in fiscal 2023. The greatest numbers have consistently been sent to the most populous states of Texas, California and Florida.

From fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2023, New York received 47,982 UACs, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is responsible for their care. ORR is housed within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service’s Office of the Administration for Children & Families.

The total number of UACs sent to sponsors by county for fiscal 2023 is no longer on the ORR or HHS websites as of Dec. 14. The data appears to have been removed after The Center Square first reported on it on Nov. 20.

Only UAC county data from January to March 2023 is on the HHS website, which was last updated May 11 and several hyperlinks are broken and say “page not found.” A spokesperson from ACF said they are working to correct the problem.

Total UAC county data for fiscal 2023 was previously published on the ORR website. The complete data enabled The Center Square to report on the number of UACs sent to sponsors in 22 counties in Texas, 21 counties in California, and 29 counties in Florida.

The Center Square also discovered discrepancies in ORR published data between the number of UACs ORR sent to sponsors in a state and its counties. The difference is reportedly because not all UACs are sent to sponsors; many are sent to facilities managed by non-governmental organizations receiving tens of millions of dollars from federal and state governments. The discrepancy is consistent each fiscal year.

For example, for the month of October, the first month in fiscal 2024, ORR reports that New York received 858 UACs. By county, New York received 672 UACs. They were sent to sponsors in the counties of Bronx (76), Kings (136), Nassau (80), Queens (197), Rockland (62), and Suffolk (121), according to ORR data.

The difference of 186 has been attributed to those who were reportedly sent to NGO-run facilities.

From March 2003 to July 2022, ORR says it has cared for more than 409,550 children nationwide. The overwhelming majority arriving are males by a roughly 70-30 split, according to ORR data.

According to a federal law passed in 2003, “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 ORR. Federal law requires ORR to provide these children with food, shelter, and medical care and release them “to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings.”

Federal and state lawmakers have raised concerns about ORR’s oversight and care of the children once they are in custody of sponsors and HHS-contracted facilities. Multiple federal and state investigations have found serious deficiencies of ORR oversight, including allegations of sexual abuse of children in HHS/ORR-contracted facilities and losing track of UACs once they are in the U.S. Several investigative reports identified an estimate of more than 100,000 UACs ORR can’t account for within a certain timeframe, meaning the number is likely higher.

At the state level, a Texas-based group has called on the Texas Legislature to enact reforms requiring minimum standards for facilities housing unaccompanied minors. A Florida grand jury report found the ORR was “facilitating the forced migration, sale, and abuse of foreign children. This process exposes children to horrifying health conditions, constant criminal threat, labor and sex trafficking, robbery, rape and other experiences not done justice by mere words.”

In response to its findings, the Florida legislature enacted several reforms to increase penalties for human trafficking and oversight of facilities and contractors working with federal agencies to house and transport UACs in Florida. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also recently met with members of Congress and led a delegation of AGs imploring Congress to pass legislation to respond to multiple border security issues.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., attempted to hold the head of the ORR responsible by at least eliminating her salary. Instead, 45 Republicans joined Democrats to defeat him – including five congressmen from New York, the largest delegation of Republicans to defeat the measure. They included Andrew Garbarino, Nick LaLota, Michael Lawler, Marcus Molinaro, and Brandon Williams.

UAC’s are counted separately from illegal foreign national children who arrive in family units. They are housed in separate facilities than families, for example, who are staying in the Stratford Arms Hotel, where an 11-year-old boy was recently found dead. The boy was reportedly found with a shoelace around his throat, Mayor Eric Adams told reporters.

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