Reports began circulating last week that the United States government has taken custody of at least 2,000 migrant children over the past several weeks as the Trump administration's “zero-tolerance” policy took full effect.
But according the senior officials, that number is small compared to what they expect to see by the end of August – potentially 30,000 children in federal government care.
A senior administration official who asked not to be identified said the Department of Health and Human Services has been taking in about 250 children per day in recent weeks. HHS is the agency that is taking in children when they are separated from their families.
An HHS official added that the agency expects to be taking about 250 kids each day at least for the next two months. If that estimate holds, HHS could be caring for 18,500 more children by the end of August.
As of Friday, the Examiner reported, HHS had in its care 11,500 migrant children, bringing the anticipated August total to 30,000.
That number encompasses both migrant children separated from their families as well as minors who cross the border alone.
A Justice Department spokesman told the Washington Examiner last week the zero-tolerance policy is not expected to lead to a decline in the number of illegal immigrants attempting to make the trek to the U.S. from primarily Central American countries until early fall.