The federal government relocated 219 unaccompanied immigrant children to North Carolina in August and 5,942 nationwide, according to newly released figures.
Figures from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement show that 43,419 children who were detained at the nation’s southern border were placed with sponsors, usually relatives, between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31. North Carolina has received 1,648 of those children, the eighth-highest total of any state.
Four North Carolina counties have received more than 50 children: 536 in Mecklenburg County, 188 in Wake County, 180 in Durham County and 55 in Wayne County.
Since the start of the federal budget year in October, more than 66,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended crossing the border into the U.S. illegally, nearly double the number from the 2013 budget year. The children have primarily come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and say they’re fleeing violence or unrest.
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The children are living with sponsors while the court system reviews whether to deport them or to let them stay. The influx of border children has sparked debate.
Gov. Pat McCrory has publicly complained about not getting enough information about the children. Some county governments – such as Brunswick, Rowan and Surry – have passed resolutions asking that the federal government not relocate any unaccompanied children to their counties.
In response, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, N.C. Justice Center and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice appealed this month to the U.S. Justice Department to make sure that the immigrant children can register for school in the state.