Number of children on the border is up

The number of unaccompanied undocumented minors apprehended along the border or found in the U.S. is at record highs and could nearly double in 2012 compared to last year, according to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Kids from Guatemala traveling to the U.S. alone make up the largest group of unaccompanied minors arriving in the U.S. alone(36 percent), followed by those from El Salvador (25 percent) and Honduras, (20 percent) which used to be the largest sender, according to the agency. Children from Mexico account for 12 percent.
The figures were the topic of discussion Friday at the “Children at the Border Forum,” held at the University of San Diego and hosted by Casa Cornelia Law Center and the Trans-Border Institute.
Already in fiscal year 2012 the government has apprehended more than 8,000 unaccompanied minors, already topping the agency’s estimate for the entire year and nearing the peak of 8,200 in 2010, according to budget documents for the Department of Health and Human Services which oversees the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
“There is a growing number of unaccompanied minors and a growing number being sent back through deportation, the mechanisms in place are not yet adequate to protect their basic rights,” said David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute.
It’s unclear why the numbers have gone up so exponentially and point to several factors as drivers. Violence and drug trade, better job opportunities and family reunification have always been reasons for children to attempt to reach the United States, said Richard Zapata, federal field specialist, detained children’s program of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Experts suspect U.S. enforcement policies and the dismal economy is a part of the upswing that keeps families locked in the U.S. and unable to travel back and forth as well as the dismal economy, which has prompted undocumented families to hunker down in the U.S. and avoid travel as well as leaving established jobs.
Wayne Cornelius calls it “The caging effect.”
“Stronger border enforcement is prompting family reunification and the recession has rooted people in the U.S.,” said Cornelius, prominent immigration expert and director emeritus of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University California San Diego. “It’s driving the increased flow of children.”
He also points to increased deportations, up to 400,000 a year under President Barack Obama, as another factor in the rise of unaccompanied children in detention.
But there are still problems, according to the Appleseed Network, which released a report last year outlining concerns surrounding how Mexican children are dealt with. The organization is working to promote reforms related to the findings that revealed concerns with how children are interviewed, the lack of training among officers interviewing children and how quickly Mexican children are returned compared to children from other countries who are given more access to counsel and shelter.
Appleseed representatives have made recommendations and are working with both the U.S. and Mexico on streamlining the system, said Maru Cortazar, who leads Appleseed in Mexico.
Of the children who are in the U.S. alone 88 percent are reunified and 7 percent are returned to their native country, Zapata said. These statistics also include undocumented minors who have lived in the United States for years and how were apprehended by immigration officials.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Minori Stranieri Non Accompagnati © 2015 - Designed by, Plugins By