U.S. will care for unaccompanied Afghan children until sponsors are found.
More than 100 Afghan children who arrived in the U.S. without their parents are being cared for by the federal government, CBS News reported, citing the Department of Health and Human Services.
Only a few of the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees arriving here have been children arriving alone, and most have been quickly reunited with other relatives in the U.S., HHS said. Those with no family in the U.S. will remain in the custody of the Office off Refugee Resettlement until they turn 18, unless a suitable sponsor can be found.
Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the U.S. expects more unaccompanied children to arrive in the future.
Since August 17, some 48,000 Afghans deemed to be at-risk in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan have been let in to the U.S., according to the U.S. government. Thousands more, including dozens of unaccompanied children, remain at U.S. military bases in Europe and the Middle East while their paperwork is being processed.
On September 4, the government issued field guidance instructing officials to “expeditiously” release Afghan children who arrived without a parent to non-parental caregivers who were also evacuated, according to an internal memo obtained by CBS News.
Officials still have to establish identities and a bona fide relationship between the children and caregivers, and look for any red flags. But they can rely on background checks conducted by other U.S. agencies to ensure the “caregiver has not engaged in criminal conduct,” the memo said.
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