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HHS official reveals the shocking number of migrant children coming to the US each day

A HHS official revealed Monday how many unaccompanied migrant children the agency is processing each day. (LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees refugees, is taking in an average of 250 migrant children each day, an agency official revealed to the Washington Examiner.

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" illegal immigration policy — which mandates the prosecution of anyone who enters the U.S. illegally — has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks since it has forced thousands of children to be separated from their parents. Those children are held in a myriad of detention centers near the U.S.-Mexico border.

What are the details?

An HHS official told TheBlaze that the agency currently has 11,785 unaccompanied minors in their custody, adding 810 addition children between Thursday and Sunday. That means the agency is processing more than 1,500 children each week.

The Examiner reported than upwards of 30,000 unaccompanied minors will be in government custody by August. However, that's may not be entirely correct because not every child who is sent to a detention center remains there.

In fact, an HHS official told TheBlaze that the average length of stay for children in the centers is currently 57 days as opposed to 41 days last year. That means in 2 months, most of the nearly 12,000 children currently held at a camp will be released.

It wasn't immediately clear how the numbers compare to figures from 2014 when the Obama administration faced a similar unaccompanied minor crisis at the border. At the time, tens of thousands of migrant kids ended up in detention centers. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said over the weekend that current numbers reflect Obama-era figures.

Federal law mandates that the Department of Health and Human Services, via the Office of Refugee Resettlement, care for each unaccompanied minor who enters the U.S. without a parent or legal guardian.

Where about the zero tolerance policy?

While the policy is undoubtedly leading to more children being placed in detention centers, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday she will not apologize for the policy.

"We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does for doing the job that the American people expect us to do. Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards," Nielsen said during a speech in New Orleans, according to Fox News.

On Sunday, Nielsen denied having a policy of separating children from their parents.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to add comments from the Department of Health and Human Services.

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