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Unaccompanied Alien Children Released to Sponsors by County

Published: September 27, 2019

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/county equivalents where the sponsors live, where 50 or more children have been released for FY 2020 (since October 1, 2019) as of February 29, 2020. This data covers 62 counties and county equivalents nationwide and comprises 7,102 of the 11,838 total children released to sponsors in this period. ACF will update this data each month. See the state-by-state data.

State County

Total Number of UC Released to Sponsors in FY20
(thru FEB 20)

AZ Maricopa County 95
CA Alameda County 132
CA Contra Costa County 54
CA Los Angeles County 593
CA Marin County 60
CA Orange County 61
CA Riverside County 55
CA San Bernardino County 45
CA San Diego County 42
CA San Mateo County 81
CA Santa Clara County 51
CT Fairfield County 97
CT New Haven County 50
DE Sussex County 76
FL Broward County 98
FL Collier County 52
FL Hillsborough County 83
FL Lee County 83
FL Miami-Dade County 196
FL Orange County 68
FL Palm Beach County 184
GA DeKalb County 95
GA Gwinnett County 85
IL Cook County 77
IN Marion County 51
LA East Baton Rouge Parish 52
LA Jefferson Parish 93
MA Essex County 87
MA Middlesex County 74
MA Suffolk County 68
MD Baltimore County 69
MD Baltimore city 70
MD Montgomery County 151
MD Prince George's County 193
NC Mecklenburg County 104
NC Wake County 54
NJ Bergen County 50
NJ Essex County 149
NJ Hudson County 60
NJ Mercer County 59
NJ Union County 121
NY Bronx County 86
NY Kings County 187
NY Nassau County 130
NY Queens County 319
NY Rockland County 76
NY Suffolk County 213
NY Westchester County 68
OH Hamilton County 59
PA Philadelphia County 50
RI Providence County 63
TN Davidson County 118
TN Shelby County 63
TX Bexar County 53
TX Dallas County 245
TX Harris County 783
TX Montgomery County 54
TX Tarrant County 58
TX Travis County 163
VA Fairfax County 171
VA Prince William County 52
WA King County 72


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

Last Reviewed: March 23, 2020