WOODBURY - The number of children from Central America who are crossing the U.S. border illegally and settling on Long Island is growing.

A Newsday report cites federal statistics that show more than 1,800 unaccompanied children arrived on Long Island from Oct. 1 through June 30.

That is nearly 700 more than during the same time period the year.

Immigrant advocates say the children are desperate to flee widespread gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Once they cross the border, the children are released to sponsors who are already settled in the United States.