"The number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) arriving in the United States has reached alarming numbers, straining the system put in place over the past decade to handle such cases. UAC are defined in statute as children who lack lawful immigration status in the United States, who are under the age of 18, and who are without a parent or legal guardian in the United States or no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody. Two statutes and a legal settlement most directly affect U.S. policy for the treatment and administrative processing of UAC: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-457); the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296); and the 'Flores Settlement Agreement' of 1997. Several agencies in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) share responsibilities for the processing, treatment, and placement of UAC. [...] In an effort to address the crisis, the Administration developed a working group to coordinate the efforts of the various agencies involved. It also opened additional shelters and holding facilities to accommodate the large number of UAC apprehended at the border. In June, the Administration announced plans to provide funding to the affected Central American countries for a variety of programs and security-related initiatives; and in July, the Administration requested $3.7 billion in supplemental appropriations for FY2014 to address the crisis. Relatedly, Congress is considering funding increases for HHS and DHS in each agency's FY2015 appropriations bill. Additionally, Senator Mikulski and Representative Rogers introduced supplemental appropriations bills for FY2014 (S. 2648 and H.R. 5230) for departments and agencies involved in the UAC crisis (e.g., DHS, HHS, the Departments of Justice and State). The House passed its supplemental appropriations bill on August 1, 2014. In addition to the various appropriations bills that are being considered, several pieces of legislation have been introduced in both chambers; however, this report does not discuss those bills. CRS [Congressional Research Service] has published additional reports on this topic."
CRS Report for Congress, R43599
Federation of American Scientists: http://fas.org/