Updated: 07/25/2014 7:00 PM
Created: 07/24/2014 5:35 PM KSTP.com
The federal government says 173 unaccompanied immigrant children have been placed in Minnesota since the start of the year.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement issued a state-by-state breakdown of unaccompanied child placement on Thursday. The figures show more than 30,000 children have been released to sponsors this year through July 7.
"These children are leaving their countries as a matter of survival," said Jane Graupman, with the International Institute of Minnesota. "Their sibling has been murdered, their parents have been murdered, and so these children are desperate."
Texas, New York, Florida and California are receiving the most unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border, according to the information. There are more than 4,000 in Texas and more than 3,000 in New York, Florida and California.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, is leading efforts to bring to the state more unaccompanied children who've fled Central America for the U.S. Ellison says Minnesota is as well-equipped as any other state to handle the children.
Federal and state governments are scrambling to find shelter for the children fleeing violence in Central America.
If Congress doesn't approve nearly $4 billion before it recesses in August, that could mean fewer dollars coming to the St. Paul-based International Institute of Minnesota.
"It would mean cutting some of the services that we have for the refugee clients that we have," explained Graupman.
In 2013, the agency helped nearly 700 refugees with food, shelter and job training for careers.
Some say, the children should not be relocated in Minnesota. Four Republican Wisconsin lawmakers wrote to the Secretary of Homeland Security saying "housing these minors will result in a significant strain on local and state budgets."
The Associated Press Contributed to this Story.