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Children's immigration crisis

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A surge in unaccompanied children migrating to the United States from Central America was first observed in October 2011. It increased rapidly, doubling in volume each year,[1] reaching crisis proportions in late 2013 and 2014 when tens of thousands of women and children from the Wikipedia:Central American countries of Wikipedia:Honduras, Wikipedia:Guatemala, Wikipedia:El Salvador, and Wikipedia:Mexico migrated to the Wikipedia:United States.[2] Many were an “unaccompanied alien child” which is defined by 6 U.S.C. § 279(g)(2) as a child under 18 who has no lawful status in the United States, and either has no parent/legal guardian in the United States, or has no parent/legal guardian available to provide care and physical custody.[3]


Most simply crossed the Rio Grande and turned themselves into to the Border Patrol, relying on the belief, partly well founded,[4] that United States law made special provision for illegal immigrants who were children. The large number of immigrants entitled to hearings, counsel, and placement overwhelmed U.S. immigration courts and other government facilities.

The Wikipedia:United States Department of Justice reported in June 2014 that it will provide around 100 lawyers and paralegals for the rising number of children illegally coming to the United States, without parents or relatives. Under this program, the federal government will issue $2 million in grants to entice lawyers and paralegals to help illegal minors.[5] Attorney General Wikipedia:Eric Holder stated, "We're taking a historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society.” The Obama administration estimates roughly 60,000 unaccompanied children will come across the border to the US in 2014.[6] A 2014 Mother Jones article suggests many of these unaccompianied children are attempting to escape abusive situations.[7] Analysis of Border Patrol statistics[8] shows a correlation between Gang-related killing of children in Central America, particularly San Pedro Sula in Honduras, and the surge in migration.[9]

Federal responsibilitiesEdit

The provisions of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which give substantial rights[10] and protection to unaccompanied children from countries which do not have a common border with the United States such as the nations of Central America other than Mexico, made expeditious deportation of the large number of children from Central America who came to the United States in 2014 difficult and expensive, prompting a call by President Barack Obama for an emergency appropriation of $4 billion[11] and resulting in discussions by the Department of Justice and Congress of how to interpret or revise the law in order to expedite handling large numbers of children under the act.[4] One solution, proposed by the Department of Justice in July 2014, is to move cases involving children and families with children to the head of the docket in immigration courts.[12]

According to the Immigrant Rights' Project of the Wikipedia:American Civil Liberties Union, the Wikipedia:Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Wikipedia:United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Wikipedia:United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its subunits, including Wikipedia:U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Wikipedia:Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). usually called the immigration courts, within the Wikipedia:United States Department of Justice each have statutory responsibilities with respect to unaccompanied children from Central America, or other nations that do not share a common border with the United States. According to the ACLU the stipulated settlement in Flores v. Meese, which is a Wikipedia:United States District Court for the Central District of California decision which sets out a nationwide policy concerning federal detention of any minor,[13] also applies.[10]

Public and political reactionEdit

On July 9, 2014 a hearing on the crisis was held by the Wikipedia:United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The testimony of Statement of Wikipedia:Craig Fugate Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency U.S. Department of Homeland Security was that "We are talking about large numbers of children, without their parents, who have arrived at our border—hungry, thirsty, exhausted, scared and vulnerable."[14][15] The President's request for additional funds was met in both houses of Congress by proposals to modify or eliminate the rights granted by the 2008 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection reauthorization of the Wikipedia:Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000[16]

As most unaccompanied children from Central America do not attempt to avoid capture but turn themselves into the Border Patrol after entering the United States they usually cross the Wikipedia:Rio Grande into Texas. The large number of children overwhelmed facilities in Texas in summer 2014 and some of the women and children were transferred to INS facilities in California. In most instances this occurred without incident, but in Wikipedia:Murrieta, California on July 1, 2014 buses carrying immigrants to a Border Patrol facility were blocked by flag-waving protestors.[17]

See alsoEdit

External links and further readingEdit

Citations Edit

  1. Regional Office United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the United States and the Caribbean (March 2014). "Children on the Run: Unaccompanied children leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. p. 15. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
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  3. 6 U.S.C. § 279(g)(2)
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  7. Gordon, Ian (2014-08). "70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  8. "Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) by Location of Origin for CY 2014: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala". Homeland Intelligence Today. May 27, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
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  10. 10.0 10.1 "Rights of Children in the Immigration Process" (PDF). ACLU Immigrant Rights' Project. July 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
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  13. "Flores v. Meese - Stipulated Settlement Agreement" (PDF). ACLU. August 12, 1996. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  14. Statement of Wikipedia:Craig Fugate Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  15. "Challenges at the Border: Examining the Causes, Consequences, and Responses to the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border". United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. July 9, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014. "Our border security system has been overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of these children and families." 
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Wikipedia:Category:Illegal immigration to the United States

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