Immigrant children arriving on the border unaccompanied over the past two years have been far more likely to win asylum at U.S. government offices in California than in other parts of the country.

Figures obtained by The Associated Press through January show that more than half of the youngsters who sought asylum in San Francisco and Los Angeles were granted the right to stay in this country, while fewer than 20 percent won in Chicago and Houston.

Immigrant advocates say some regions are more sympathetic toward immigrants. They say the disparities may also reflect differences in interviewing techniques and office culture.

The children were part of a huge surge in the number of Central American youngsters arriving at the border. The flow has overwhelmed U.S. shelters and further clogged the country's immigration courts.