The US has expelled about 8,800 unaccompanied migrant children intercepted at the US-Mexico border under rules to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The Trump administration implemented new border rules on March 21 that scrapped decades-old practices under laws meant to protect children from human trafficking and offer them a chance to seek asylum.
The emergency rules were designed to avert coronavirus outbreaks inside migrant holding facilities and among the broader US population.
Since then, US officials have been removing migrants, including unaccompanied minors, without standard immigration proceedings.
Immigration advocates have argued that the new regulations put migrants, especially children, at grave risk.
The federal government has been holding them for days or sometimes weeks in hotels with unlicensed contractors to look after them.
The government produced the figures in a Justice Department filing to a San Francisco-based court objecting to an order that it stop holding children in hotels before expelling them.
In addition to expelling about 8,800 children, the government said it had expelled 159,000 migrants overall, and 7,600 family units.
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