The U.S. has spent about $80 million to care for children separated from their parents at the border with Mexico, The Hill reported Tuesday. The child separations occurred in the wake of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy initiated in April 2018, under which any immigrant who crossed the border illegally was prosecuted.
According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, 2,667 children were separated from their parents and cared for by the federal government. The average time in custody was 83 days per child, the report said, with an average cost of $30,000 each. The cost of shelter, which includes food and education, was the largest component overall at $59 million.
With 140 children still in custody, the cost will continue to rise, although the policy was halted in June.