Monthly UAC referrals to ORR had been under 1,000 prior to March of 2012, but have surged since then. In May of 2014, more than 9,500 unaccompanied alien children were referred to ORR – an increase of more than 850%.
Figure 2 uses monthly referrals to ORR to illustrate the trends over time and shows a sharp increase in UAC in ORR custody over the past year. Monthly referrals were less than 1,000 until March 2012. By March 2013, monthly referrals to ORR surpassed 2,000 UAC cases, and the number hit 5,527 in March 2014. In May 2014, 9,500 UAC were transferred to ORR. Bear in mind that not all UAC are referred to ORR; for example, some arriving from contiguous countries voluntarily return home.