More Than 4,400 Border Children Living With Sponsors in Maryland, Virginia

Most of the unaccompanied children have gone to parents, other sponsors

More than 4,400 unaccompanied children who crossed the U.S. border this year have been placed with relatives or other adults in Maryland and Virginia.

About 2,205 children in Maryland and 2,234 children in Virginia have found temporary homes in those states, according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Another 187 children have been placed with relatives or sponsors in the District of Columbia.

Texas -- followed by New York, Florida and California -- has the highest number of unaccompanied minors who have been released to relatives since surging across the border.

In Texas alone, nearly 4,300 children have been placed with family members while their immigration cases are heard. More than 3,000 each are in New York, Florida and California.

The state-by-state breakdown accounts for about 30,000 children who have gone to sponsors between Jan. 1 and July 7, according to the Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

Some 57,000 unaccompanied children have been picked up at the border since October, though in the last four weeks, the numbers have dropped. The Associated Press has reported that fewer than 2,000 have been sent back.

It is not clear how many children remain in the United States without sponsors or how many of their cases have been heard. The Administration for Children and Families did not immediately respond for comment.

The surge of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States has prompted protests across the country and spurred Texas Gov. Rick Perry to say he would deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the border.

The crisis has also sparked a stalement between the Obama administration and Congress. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency money for immigration judges, detention facilities and other resources to handle the influx of children, but many Republicans first want revisons to the law dictating how the children are treated.

The Obama administration is also considering screening children in Honduras to determine whether they are eligible for refugee status.

Most children are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. They are coming to the United States to escape violence, to find relatives already in the United States, to find work or were brought to the United States by trafficking rings, according to the administration.

The children are turned over to the Children and Families' Office of Refugee Resettlement, which tries to place them with parents or other relatives or friends. If no suitable sponsor can be found, the children remain in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Typically between 7,000 and 8,000 children are served by the program, but the number jumped dramatically to about 13,625 between October 2011 and September 2012, and then again more recently.

The office maintains 100 short-term shelters throughout the United States, but because of the recent surge in numbers, it has had to open three temporary ones: at the Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas, the Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme in California, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma. The capacity for each is nearly 3,000 beds.

The state-by-state breakdown is here.

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