12,800 migrant children are in U.S. detention centers, compared to 2,400 children in May 2017.
According to The New York Times, the number of detained migrant children is now the highest ever recorded.
The number of children in federally contracted shelters has multiplied by more than five since last summer and the federal shelter system is nearing full capacity.
The shelters holding the children have stayed close to 90% capacity since at least last May compared to roughly 30% a year ago. And, despite hundreds of children being released under court order, overall capacity has remained high because fewer kids are being released to live with family or other sponsors.
Despite the Trump administration’s strict immigration policies, the number of children crossing the border has remained roughly the same. The stricter policies have instead reportedly caused a decrease in the number of relatives coming forward to sponsor children.
“The number of unaccompanied alien children apprehended are a symptom of the larger issue of a broken immigration system,” stated the Department of Health and Human Services’ Evelyn Stauffer to The New York Times.
Unaccompanied children have historically been placed with sponsors already in the U.S. who have been vetted by authorities. This process has slowed by roughly two-thirds since last year reportedly due in part to changes the Trump administration made in June.