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Harris County Tops Nation In Number Of Migrant Children

The county has received 2,866 immigrant children who crossed the border illegally.

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Updated at 5:30 p.m.

Harris County has received 2,866 immigrant children who were released after crossing the border illegally. That’s the highest number of any U.S. county.

Jessica Brown is the Interim Director of the University of Houston Center for Immigration Research. She says Texas has been more welcoming of immigrants than other border states, which accounts for their higher population.

“We do have a fairly large undocumented population, so it does make sense to me, also given our geography, that we would find a concentration of people here,” Brown said.

The Department of Health and Human Services collected the data from January through July. Harris County is followed by Los Angeles County, which has absorbed 1,993 children. Suffolk County comes in third with 1,181.

Local immigration activists agree with Brown on why so many children are coming to Harris County. But since they’re already in the U.S., activists want legal protections to help them stay. Many children are fleeing violence or poverty, but they can face repercussions if they don’t abide by immigration laws. Geoffrey Hoffman is the Director of the University of Houston Immigration Clinic. He says the organization is working with children and their families to help them navigate the legal system.

“We’ve been trying to make it clear that there is a responsibility on their part to attend court hearings and obviously to comply with an order of deportation,” he said.  

  

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*UAC released data from January 1st to July 31st