Health and Human Services representatives said Wednesday on Capitol Hill that unaccompanied minors who are detained in the United States are often sent to live with relatives who are illegal immigrants themselves as they wait for deportation hearings.

Under federal law adopted during the George W. Bush administration, minors who are detained from countries not bordering the U.S. are required to have a deportation hearing before being sent home. However, many of these minors are sent to live with sponsors or family members during their wait, leaving open the possibility these children won't return for their hearings.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said Wednesday on Capitol Hill that many children won't be brought to deportation hearings if they're living with illegal immigrants because those adults don't want to jeopardize being deported themselves.