The government didn't really lose 1,500 migrant children after they left federal custody.
It may be four times that.
McClatchy reviewed U.S. government data and found that during the Trump presidency, the government appears to have lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors. The widely reported smaller number referred only to a three-month span last fall.
Yet contrary to assumptions that sparked outrage last month, an untraceable child could be better off. The Office of Refugee Resettlement couldn't get ahold of 1,475 resettled immigrant children 30 days after their release after placing a single phone call, per policy. But those families often have a good reason for not picking up, New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer Paige Austin told WNYC's On the Media last month: Families may wish to cut ties with the government in an effort to protect other undocumented immigrants they may be living with. Ninety percent of resettled children end up with a family member, per ORR data, and those people may or may not have legal status.
The number of actually lost children gets trickier to solidify, seeing as some families did answer and confirmed a child was gone, McClatchy says. And the numbers are only from 2017. Things could fluctuate further now that children and parents are being separated at the border, leaving more children unaccompanied and more immigrants afraid of authorities. Read more at McClatchy.