by Caroline May
9 Apr 2015

Although the Obama administration has adopted a range of efforts to stop Central American children from illegally coming to the U.S. — including implementing a program to fly them here instead — a new report projects 39,000 unaccompanied minors and 35,000 family units will be apprehended at the southern border this fiscal year.

In a report issued by the Migration Policy Institute, author Marc R. Rosenblum uses apprehension data collected for the first five months of FY 2015 to project that the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border will be less than last year’s surge of 68,551 but still more than twice FY 2011’s number, when just 15,949 unaccompanied minors were apprehended.

Like the prior year, unaccompanied minors from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico are expected to make up the largest populations of apprehensions.

MPI also projects that the apprehensions of family units in FY 2015 will also be less than last year but still more than years before the 2014 border surge.

“While attention has focused on unaccompanied child arrivals, even more dramatic growth occurred in FY 2014 in the number of apprehensions of people within family units,” the report reads.

The report continues, “[f]amily unit apprehensions grew from 14,855 in FY 2013 to 68,445 in FY 2014—a 360 percent increase. Based on reported apprehensions during the first five months of FY 2015, MPI projects total family unit apprehensions for FY 2015 to be about 35,000, assuming current trends continue.”

According to the most recent government data, more than 15,640 unaccompanied minors and 13,911 family units have been apprehended illegally entering the U.S. this fiscal year, as of March 31, 2015.

Unaccompanied minors, once apprehended are placed in the care of Health and Human Services’s the Office of Refugee Resettlement where they are then delivered to sponsors throughout the U.S. Last year’s border surge saw 53,518 unaccompanied minors placed with sponsors in the U.S.

The most recent government data for this fiscal year through February 8,342 unaccompanied minors have been placed with sponsors in the U.S.