Number of unaccompanied immigrant children in AL now above 500 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Number of unaccompanied immigrant children in AL now above 500

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A check of updated numbers for the month of August shows a jump in the number of unaccompanied immigrant children being held in Alabama and other states.

In July, there were 407 children in Alabama listed as having been released to "sponsors" in Alabama. In August, the number is 515.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, an office of the Administration for Children and Families says sponsors are, "adults who can suitably 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."

In the South, sponsors were caring for 3,809 (July/3,181) in Florida, 1,412 (July/1,154) in Georgia, 202 (July/179) in Mississippi and 909 (July/760) in Tennessee.

In July, the ORR listed 30,340 children as having been released to sponsors in the United States. That number upward in August to 37,477. The list is updated once per month.

Following the children's transfer from the Department of Homeland Security to the ORR, the ORR says it ensures they are vaccinated and medically screened before going to their sponsor.

The office says it tries to find relatives, but if that is not possible, they move forward with sponsors.

Once in the sponsor's care, it is that adult's responsibility to ensure the child's presence at all immigration hearings as well as reporting to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for removal from the United States in an immigration judge issues a removal order or voluntary departure order.

These sponsorships are not the same as federal government plans to hold detained immigrant children at facilities including Maxwell Air Force Base. While Maxwell is on a list of places that could potentially house the immigrants, no decision has been made at this point to do so.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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