Quote:Although federal officials are responsible for placing children in sponsor homes for their safety, they say they aren't "legally responsible" for them afterward.More: buzzfeed
Quote:The US government lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children, but officials say they are not "legally responsible" for them after they are placed in temporary homes to await the outcome of their asylum cases.
The revelation, made during a congressional hearing last month, comes as officials continue to struggle with the number of minors who make the dangerous trek into the United States, many of them seeking asylum from violence in their home countries.
It also comes amid concerns the Department of Homeland Security is looking to separate children from their parents if they are caught together while trying to cross the border as a form of deterrent.
US agencies have struggled with legal, logistical, and political questions regarding underage immigrants, as thousands of them continue to be detained at the US-Mexico border.
Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary for the US Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, told a subcommittee in April that officials were unable to determine what happened to 1,475 children who were placed in sponsors' homes between October to December 2017.
Another 28 kids, Wagner told lawmakers, also ran away from the home.
The agency had been attempting to contact 7,635 minors and their sponsors, he said, as part of a routine checkup to look into their safety. More than 19% of them, however, were unaccounted for.
That's the population of a small town