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Unaccompanied Alien Children Released to Sponsors by County

Published: June 30, 2017

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 alien 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 alien 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 alien 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 alien children released to sponsors by the counties/county equivalents where the sponsors live, where 50 or more children have been released for FY 2019 (since October 1, 2018) as of October 31, 2018. This data covers 10 counties and county equivalents nationwide and comprises 1,017 of the 3,451 total children released to sponsors in this period. ACF will update this data each month.

NOTE: This monthly data reflects all UAC referred from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It does not delineate the subset of UAC referred under the recently enacted Zero Tolerance, 100 percent prosecution of illegal immigration cases. While we understand the interest in detailed breakdowns of this information, our mission has been and remains to provide every minor transferred to HHS, regardless of the circumstances, with quality and age-appropriate care and a speedy and safe release to a sponsor. 

View unaccompanied alien children released to sponsors by state

State County

Total Number of UAC Released  to Sponsors in FY 2019
(through OCTOBER 2018)

CA Los Angeles County 205
FL Miami-Dade County 84
FL Palm Beach County 77
MD Montgomery County 54
MD Prince George's County 77
NY Queens County 76
NY Suffolk County 61
TX Dallas County 87
TX Harris County 236
VA Fairfax County 60


See the FY18 county level data
See the FY17 county level data
See the FY16 county level data
See the FY15 county level data
See the FY14 county level data

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

Last Reviewed: November 29, 2018