The U.S. government is detaining a record 12,800 migrant children, and the federal shelter system is close to capacity, The New York Times reports.
The number of detained migrant children is up from 2,400 kids in custody in May 2017. While the Trump administration did separate thousands of children from their parents at the southern border in an attempt to discourage others from entering the country, most of the minors now in custody crossed the border without a parent. There are 100 shelters across the United States, and they are operating at 90 percent capacity, up from 30 percent last year, the Times reports. The Trump administration announced on Tuesday it will triple the size of a temporary tent city in Tornillo, Texas, in order to house up to 3,800 children. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said this kind of facility is three times more expensive to operate than a fixed shelter, costing $750 per child, per day.
Data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services was shared with members of Congress, who passed it along to the Times, and those figures show that fewer kids are being released to live with relatives, family friends, and other sponsors. That's likely because sponsors now have to be fingerprinted, and most are undocumented and would risk being deported. Catherine Garcia