The federal government has sent more than 37,000 illegal immigrant children to adults in every part of the U.S. who claimed to be their guardians during the first seven months of 2014, data from the Department of Health and Human Services show.
But tens of thousands more are languishing in 116 shelters operated with taxpayer dollars in at least 16 states.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says more than 66,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended after crossing the border illegally between October 1, 2013 and the end of this August – an 88 per cent increase over the last fiscal year with one month left to go.
HHS released more than 56 per cent of the children to family members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands between January and July, according to information the agency sent MailOnline and shown in a map below.
In addition to the 116 shelters housing the rest, an estimated 28,000 kids, the feds have also proposed to open another 46 shelters in 27 states to help cope with the influx.
The crisis has stemmed from an unprecedented flood of underage would-be Americans, often fleeing violence in Central America and drawn by the lure of a White House eager to mainstream them.
Not surprisingly, Texans absorbed the largest share of illegal immigrant children this year -- but all 50 states are represented and even Virginia has found itself with more than 2,800 unexpected new school pupils
Deluge: Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children this year have snuck across the border into the US, where they are caught, processed in holding facilities (pictured), and then either released to relatives or kept in longer-term shelters