The Department of Homeland Security says 1,995 minors were separated from their "alleged adult guardians" at the southern border in just over a monthlong period.
A DHS spokesman said the separations occurred between April 19 and the end of May under the administration's relatively new "zero tolerance" policy, in which parents have also been arrested.
The Trump administration's practice of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border has brought attention to a little-known government agency. The Office of Refugee Resettlement is responsible for finding homes for unaccompanied migrant children, those who attempt to enter the country without their parents. Now the agency also has to shelter those the government has separated from their families.
The government says more than 10,000 children are in shelters run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The office is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
In the Obama administration, the ORR was overseen by acting Assistant Secretary Mark Greenberg. Greenberg, now with the Migration Policy Institute, says there is a careful process to determine how to place unaccompanied children, most of whom come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The agency, he says, "initially seeks to determine if the child has a parent in this country; and if not a parent, a close relative; and if not a close relative, a more distant relative or a family friend."