122K migrant kids held in US custody over 12-month period: report

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.

Around 147,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the US-Mexico border in the 2021 fiscal year.
DARIO LOPEZ-MILLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
An unaccompanied girl from Honduras, 4, stands at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint after she crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico on August 14, 2021.
An unaccompanied girl from Honduras, 4, stands at a US Border Patrol checkpoint after she crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico on August 14, 2021.
John Moore/Getty Images
Young children lie inside a pod at the Department of Homeland Security holding facility run by the Customs and Border Patrol on March 30, 2021 in Texas.
Young children lie inside a pod at the Department of Homeland Security holding facility run by Customs and Border Protection on March 30, 2021, in Texas.
Dario Lopez-Mills – Pool/Getty Images

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.

Government figures show that 92,000 kids were placed in the Department of Health and Human Services' shelter between March and September alone.
Government figures show that 92,000 kids were placed in the Department of Health and Human Services’ shelter between March and September alone.
Dario Lopez-Mills – Pool/Getty Images
young unaccompanied migrants, ages 3-9, watch TV  inside a play pen in the Department of Homeland Security holding facility.
Young unaccompanied migrants, ages 3 to 9, watch TV inside a play pen in a Department of Homeland Security holding facility.
Dario Lopez-Mills – Pool/Getty Images
Sleeping quarters set up inside Exhibit Hall B for migrant children are shown during a tour of the Long Beach Convention Center on April 22, 2021.
Sleeping quarters set up inside Exhibit Hall B for migrant children are shown during a tour of the Long Beach Convention Center on April 22, 2021.
Brittany Murray-Pool/Getty Images.

Most of the emergency sites are now shuttered.

As of Wednesday, 11,997 children were in HHS care, according to the department’s website.