Jun 09 2014
How and Why Unaccompanied Migrant Children Make the Perilous Journey Over the Border and What Awaits Them in the US
More than thirty thousand children were detained by US Border Patrol last year. The children, some as young as three years old, were picked up while trying to make the treacherous border crossing into the US with no adult supervision. Many of them had made the trek in the hopes of reuniting with their families. Since 2011 the numbers of detained children has risen a staggering 142% and the number of children detained this year has already surged past 47,000.
With no immigration reform bill in sight, President Obama called on Congress last week to approve $1.4 billion to deal with the massive waves of children attempting to cross the border. Calling it an “urgent humanitarian situation,” Obama is hoping to set up a multi-agency taskforce led by FEMA to handle the children who are often put into deportation proceedings without any legal representation.
Meanwhile thousands of children are being placed into makeshift shelters around the country. According to the Associated Press, a warehouse in Nogales, Arizona is housing a thousand minors many of whom are sleeping in ‘plastic containers.’ And at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio 1,200 children are living in an emergency shelter set up on the base.
GUEST: Ian Gordon, writer for Mother Jones magazine, specializing in immigration, Latin America, and sports