An average of 441 children will cross the U.S.–Mexico border alone every day this year, surpassing last year’s record, data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) show.
“DHS projections call for approximately 148,000 and 161,000 [unaccompanied children] referrals to [Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement] this year. With monthly projections exceeding those seen in FY 2021,” says a document obtained by the Washington Examiner. It reportedly detailed the response plan to the influx from the Department of Health and Human Services as of January 2022.
Border Patrol prioritizes the transfer of those under the age of 18 who cross the border illegally without a parent or guardian. Another forecast outpaces data from a year earlier, as Customs and Border Protection recorded 147,975 total encounters of single minors in the fiscal year 2021, meaning 405 children per day on average from October 2020 to September 2021.
Data show more than 101,000 unaccompanied minors have been seized nationwide till May in the current financial year.
Unlike illegal adult immigrants, U.S. laws provide unaccompanied children cannot be sent back to their country of origin, except for Canada or Mexico, and will be put in border security custody. The majority of the minors apprehended by Border Patrol in 2021 were from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, or El Salvador, most of whom are between 15 and 17 years old.
Read More: Leaked Data Suggest a Daily Average of 441 Unaccompanied Children at Border This Year