— A state official says it remains unclear how many unaccompanied children crossing the nation's southern border illegally will be temporarily detained in Massachusetts and how many could stay in the state longer.

Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz was among officials who briefed Republican legislators Thursday during a meeting hosted by House GOP leader Brad Jones.

Several dozen immigration activists attempted to gain access to the closed-door meeting, but were turned away. The activists said officials did not fully understand the plight of the children leaving their homes in central America.

The state has offered to house up to 1,000 children at two secure facilities for up to four months. Polanowicz said he expected about 80 percent of those children would eventually be placed with sponsors in Massachusetts or elsewhere in the U.S.