Unaccompanied children from Mexico and Central America who cross into the United States at the Texas border are evaluated by the U.S. Border Patrol and placed temporarily at detention centers. If possible, the children are reunited with families already in the United States. If a relative cannot be found, the child is transported from the border to an emergency shelter managed by a private company or nonprofit organization. The operators of those shelters are paid by the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Although managed by the federal government, the shelters — with the exception of the children’s temporary quarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland — are licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Some of the shelters have requested permission from the state to add beds to accommodate the recent influx of undocumented, unaccompanied immigrant children.
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