HHS: Most migrant youths reunited with parents in the U.S.

Nine of 10 migrant children detained in the United States after illegally crossing the Mexican border are at least temporarily reunited with family members or friends, government officials testified Tuesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has placed six out of 10 unaccompanied minors with at least one parent who was already living in the U.S.

Meanwhile, another three out of 10 children were placed with other family members or friends of family, HHS reports. It is unclear how many of the family members are living in the country legally.

The family reunions come as the Obama administration is looking to ensure a safe environment for these unaccompanied children during their stay in the U.S.

“Initially, we seek to place children with a parent or a close relative, or if that’s not possible a more distant relative or a family friend,” Mark Greenberg, acting assistant secretary of HHS, told lawmakers Tuesday.

The government is still grappling with an influx of unaccompanied children coming to the country from Central America. The number of child migrants exploded last year.

HHS is ramping up the number of doctors and lawyers available to work with the unaccompanied children. The agency is also stepping up background checks on the families they are placed with while awaiting their deportation proceedings.