The surge in crossings at the southern border increases the number of unaccompanied minors in Connecticut. In March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it expected to see the southern border receive more immigrants than in the last 20 years. Most adults will be sent back to their home countries, and only unaccompanied minors will be able to stay.
Last month VP Kamala Harris asked Gov. Ned Lamont to help house children from the border. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in February more than 7,000 unaccompanied minors were transferred into HHS custody – some will come to Connecticut. Governor Lamont has been looking at state facilities and expects to make a recommendation to the federal government in the next couple of days. As of April 9th, Governor Lamont was leaning toward recommending the former Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown.
For the past 5 years, the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) has had a contract with the federal government to help unaccompanied minors transition from group homes to families and sponsors in Connecticut. As recently as 2019, more than 1,000 minors were sent to Connecticut because of the state’s robust immigrant community. For first part of 2021, HHS reported that only 120 minors were released to sponsors in Connecticut, as a result of the pandemic and the Trump immigration restrictions.