Unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border are treated no differently today than they were during the Obama administration. All that has changed is the pace at which overwhelmed federal agencies can process and release them.

Key points:

  • Unaccompanied minors are not being kept in “concentration camps” at the U.S. border. They are being processed and released to sponsors as fast as overwhelmed federal agencies can manage.
  • The Trump administration policies represent continuity with previous administrations. The basic statutory framework for processing unaccompanied minors has been in place for 16 years.
  • Federal facilities are at capacity and the agencies responsible for processing and releasing minors are overwhelmed, with the result that some minors have been in federal custody longer than allowed by law.
  • Many of the minors are being released to parents already living in the United States, many of them here illegally.
  • Because of the perception among many migrants that arriving at the U.S. border with a child will guarantee entry into the country, minors are at risk of being exploited for this purpose.