Surge in child immigrants stresses support network



McALLEN, Texas (AP) — An unprecedented surge of children caught trudging through South Texas scrublands or crossing at border ports of entry without their families has sent government and nonprofit agencies scrambling to expand their shelter, legal representation and reunification services.

On any given day this year, the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement has cared for more than 2,100 unaccompanied child immigrants.

While it isn’t new for minors to arrive alone, the scale of the increase is. Figures from the Department of Health and Human Services show that from October 2011 through March, 5,252 kids landed in U.S. custody without a parent or guardian — a 93 percent increase from the same period the previous year.

About 200 of those kids recently moved to Lackland Air Force base near San Antonio for temporary housing.