The US government took in 122,000 unaccompanied migrant children during the 12 months ending Sept. 30 of this year, shattering the previous record of 69,000, CBS News reported Thursday.
Government figures obtained by the outlet also show that 92,000 kids were placed in the Department of Health and Human Services’ shelter system between March and September alone.
Around 147,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the US-Mexico border in the 2021 fiscal year, another record-breaking number, CBS reported.
The children typically remain at the HHS shelters until officials find an adult in the US to whom they can be released.
According to the outlet, the waves of kids crossing the border without their parents peaked in March and then again in July, posing challenges for the Biden administration as it tried to figure out how to safely house the children amid the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping campaign promises to roll back the hardline policies of the Trump administration.
At the height of the crisis, convention centers were converted into migrant shelters for minors.
The Biden administration was accused of hypocrisy earlier this year when it reopened border facilities to house migrant teens, with some likening it to putting “kids in cages” — a policy Biden decried on the campaign trail.
Activists claimed that the children were not being properly cared for in the facilities. One shelter for teenage girls in Houston was closed this past April after reports surfaced that residents didn’t have access to the outdoors or proper hygiene and were being served undercooked food.
Most of the emergency sites are now shuttered.
As of Wednesday, 11,997 children were in HHS care, according to the department’s website.