Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors by County

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 Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  Federal law requires that ORR feed, shelter, and provide medical care for unaccompanied children until it is able to release them to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings. These sponsors live in many states.

Sponsors are adults who are suitable to provide for the child’s physical and mental well-being and have not engaged in any activity that would indicate a potential risk to the child. All sponsors must pass a background check. The sponsor must agree to ensure the child’s presence at all future immigration proceedings. They also must agree to ensure the minor reports to ICE for removal from the United States if an immigration judge issues a removal order or voluntary departure order. 

HHS is engaging with state officials to address concerns they may have about the care or impact of unaccompanied children in their states, while making sure the children are treated humanely and consistent with the law as they go through immigration court proceedings that will determine whether they will be removed and repatriated, or qualify for some form of relief.

HHS has strong policies in place to ensure the privacy and safety of unaccompanied children by maintaining the confidentiality of their personal information. These children may have histories of abuse or may be seeking safety from threats of violence. They may have been trafficked or smuggled.  HHS cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.

The following table shows county-level data for unaccompanied children released to sponsors by the counties where the sponsors live, where 50 or more children have been released for FY 2015 (since October 1, 2014). This data covers 64 counties nationwide and comprises 9,022 of the 14,773 total children released to sponsors in this period.  See the state-by-state data.

State County

Total Number of UCs Released to Sponsors in FY15 YTD (Oct. 14 - May 15)

AL Jefferson County 51
AL Marshall County 64
AL Morgan County 55
AL Tuscaloosa County 62
AZ Maricopa County 87
CA Alameda County 159
CA Contra Costa County 56
CA Los Angeles County 882
CA Orange County 85
CA Riverside County 87
CA San Diego County 82
CA San Fransisco County 77
CA San Mateo County 90
CA Santa Clary County 70
CT Fairfield County 53
DE Sussex County 62
FL Broward County 102
FL Collier County 133
FL Hillsborough County 65
FL Lee County 166
FL Miami-Dade County 371
FL Palm Beach County 377
GA Cobb County 54
GA DeKalb County 119
GA Gwinnett County 86
IL Cook County 81
KS Seward County 50
LA Jefferson Parish 77
MD Baltimore County 57
MD Montgomery County 270
MD Prince George’s County 338
MD Baltimore City 65
MA Essex County 95
MA Middlesex County 58
MA Suffolk County 137
NV Clark County 82
NJ Bergen County 116
NJ Essex County 79
NJ Hudson County 88
NJ Union County 203
NY Bronx County 108
NY Kings County 177
NY Nassau County 221
NY Queens County 270
NY Rockland County 71
NY Suffolk County 297
NY Westchester County 95
NC Mecklenburg County 108
OH Franklin County 54
OH Hamilton County 94
OH Tuscarawas County 53
PA Philadelphia County 59
RI Providence County 110
TN Davidson County 86
TN Shelby County 80
TX Dallas County 259
TX Harris County 893
TX Tarrant County 64
TX Travis County 91
VA Fairfax County 250
VA Prince William County 117
VA Alexandria city 65
VA Richmond city 58
WA King County 51


See the FY14 county level data

For more information, please read ORR’s reunification policy.

Last Reviewed: June 2, 2015