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The Source: What Happened To Last Year's Unaccompanied Minors?

ACLU of Texas

Nearly 60,000 minors crossed last spring, primarily from Central America, kicking off widespread debate about what caused the mass influx and how best to deal with it

Several predicted, wrongly,the number would be near 90,000.  Despite falling short of estimates, the  57,496 minors that made it to the U.S. represented the third straight year federal officials saw an exponential rise in unaccompanied minors and other border crossings, and presented an incredible challenge for law enforcement and social service providers.

But then what happened?

The average length of stay with Homeland Security or other federal programs dealing with these undocumented minors is 35 days, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But after that, these youth were discharged to family or close family friends, in some cases to international foster parents. Now many await immigration hearings to determine if they can stay.

While the numbers have dropped 8,000 young people have crossed the border since Oct. 1, 2014. Meanwhile in the Texas legislature, a battle is being waged over whether or not to keep additional law enforcement in the south that have were sent at the height of the immigration issue and had a big price tag.

How are they acclimating to the U.S.?  How are these youth impacting social services and education? What is happening now on Texas' southern border?


  • Linda Brandmiller, attorney working with many youth in the immigration system
  • Maria Moreno, principal of Las Americas Newcomer Middle School
  • James Castro, CEO of St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home 
  • Julián Aguilar, reporter on border issues for Texas Tribune
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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive