Migrant children
Between 2015 and 2023, more than 550,000 unaccompanied migrant children made their way to the United States. AFP

Denver has taken in more than 1,400 unaccompanied migrant children over the past years, most of them hailing from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The data comes from migrant children sponsors' ZIP codes, obtained by the New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act request and cited by Axios in a report of its own.

The top countries of origin were all Latin American: Honduras (475 children), Guatemala (414), El Salvador (302), Mexico (87), and Nicaragua (40).

According to the document, other Colorado cities have also received a significant number of unaccompanied children during the past eight years, including 1,330 children in Aurora and about 700 in Colorado Springs.

However, the share of unaccompanied migrant children in Denver and other Colorado cities is modest compared to other parts of the country such as Houston (about 32,000 children), Los Angeles (about 12,700), and Dallas (about 8,500), which have received the largest shares of the more than 550,000 unaccompanied migrant children who arrived in U.S. cities during this period.

"Migrant children, who have been coming into the United States without their parents in record numbers, are ending up in some of the most punishing jobs in the country," reads a recent article by the New York Times. "This shadow workforce extends across industries in every state, flouting child labor laws that have been in place for nearly a century."

The past two months have set records for families illegally crossing the southern border. Last month alone, 124,000 family members crossed without visas— whether illegally or by showing up at ports of entry.

The figures come as federal, state and city leaders grapple with how to handle the influx of migrant children into their school districts, as all kids in the U.S. are entitled to a public elementary and secondary education regardless of citizenship or immigration status, according to the Department of Education.

Education officials say they are trying to enforce vaccination requirements, find classroom space, change bus routes and hire more bilingual teachers to meet the needs of thousands of students who have survived traumatic migratory journeys.

The New York Times and other outlets have already put their spotlight on migrant children as young as 8 selling candy and chocolate on New York City subways during school hours as families struggle to make ends meet, raising questions about the legality of the practice.

New York City officials, who at first seemed to be pointing the finger elsewhere, are now set to launch an initiative aimed at deterring migrant children from working on the subway.

The city will start distributing fliers reminding migrant families that unlicensed selling is illegal in the city and can result in fines. They will also have information about the rightsof workers and immigrants, as well as access to schools.

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