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Surge of children fleeing gang recruitment in Central America creates crisis in U.S.

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Surge of children fleeing gang recruitment in Central America creates crisis in U.S. shelters

Children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are seeking asylum in large numbers, leading to 10 times as many children in temporary shelters this year as compared to 2011.

The surge of children fleeing gang recruitment in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to seek asylum in the U.S. and other countries is a crisis comparable to Africa's child soldiers, a United Nations official said Tuesday.

"Children are more and more the targeted victim here," said Leslie Vélez, a senior protection officer at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"We're certainly in the midst of a humanitarian crisis," she said...

... Many young people are also seeking refuge in neighboring countries, including Panama, Costa Rica and Belize, said Erica Dahl-Bredine, a country representative based in El Salvador for Catholic Relief Services.

Dahl-Bredine said that Salvadoran gang violence has grown in the last six to nine months as a truce falters. Honduras has also seen a sharp increase, she said.

"The gangs are now calling the shots. There are far more gang members than police officers in Honduras and El Salvador now," said Dahl-Bredine...

... During the current surge, bottlenecks for shelter mean that children aren't moving out of Border Patrol facilities-which don't have showers, beds or recreation areas-fast enough, said Brané.

Hundreds of kids have been housed temporarily at a Border Patrol facility in Nogales, Ariz., which only received portable showers and started serving hot meals in the past few days, Central American consular officials who visited the shelter told the Associated Press.

"Border Patrol facilities were not designed for long term detention. Everyone agrees they're not appropriate for children," Brané said

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/surge-children-fleeing-gang-recruitment-central-america-creates-crisis-u-s-shelters-article-1.1824413#ixzz34OEorpND

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A nurse I know has family in Costa Rica. She visits at least once a year and her sister visits her here.

They tell her that most of the refugee children are with their mother. UN, local government, and churches so far have been able to help most of them.

Here is the UN site: UNHCR - Costa Rica

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Illegal immigration dilemma: Are migrant children refugees or criminals?

An overwhelmed US immigration system is trying to figure out the exact legal status of thousands of immigrant children rushing the US border. In one of the most politicized asylum systems in the Western world, that won't be easy.

 

... The massive border breach by "unaccompanied alien children" has been building since 2012, going from 6,560 in fiscal year 2011 to an estimated 90,000 this year, and a possible 150,000 in 2015.

Of those, as many as two-thirds should qualify as legitimate refugees because their fears of persecution in their home countries - whether from gangs or political factions - seem to be well-founded, according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)....

... The UNHCR, in a February report, claimed most of the children are fleeing violence and political persecution in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, the country with the highest murder rate in the world, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime.

The report also notes that the bulk of asylum-seekers aren't coming to the US, but instead seeking protection from countries like Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

In the US, however, the influx of young migrants - and images of crowded detention facilities - comes amid a potent and divisive national debate about immigration reform and what it means for American security and the economy. That pits humanitarian needs against politics...

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2014/0612/Illegal-immigration-dilemma-Are-migrant-children-refugees-or-criminals

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I believe that we have a broken immigration system that is not doing what we need it to do. It would be nice if our legislators had the courage to actually address this issue and offer some fixes.

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Give me your tired, your poor...

that was another country, another time, another people...

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10365953_792005337496685_1392665060964417376_n.png

Oh, the irony.

Well done, folks. You hurled insults at a bus full of hungry tired mothers and children.

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Texas gov testifies on child immigration crisis

July 3 at 10:30 PM

MCALLEN, Texas-The tens of thousands of Central American children entering the U.S. illegally is both a humanitarian crisis and a national security one, Texas Gov. Rick Perry testified Thursday at a congressional field hearing in South Texas.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended since October. Three-fourths of them are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and say they are fleeing pervasive gang violence and crushing poverty.

Thursday's hearing by the House Homeland Security committee in McAllen yielded agreement that there is a humanitarian crisis but disagreement among members about its roots or potential solutions....

... On Monday, Obama asked Congress for flexibility to deport children more quickly and $2 billion to hire more immigration judges and open more detention facilities...

... Rev. Mark Seitz, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, led a fact-finding trip to Central America late last year to investigate why children were leaving. He left with the impression that the gang violence was an even stronger drive than the intense poverty.

"A deterrence strategy including expedited removal of these children places this vulnerable population at even greater risk and will not necessarily stem the child migrant flow," he testified Thursday...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/texas-gov-testifies-on-child-immigration-crisis/2014/07/03/1cb5b0bc-0323-11e4-866e-94226a02bc8d_story.html

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Does anyone care about the risks these kids face when their parents send them on the journey? They get beaten, robbed, raped. One article I read said at least 1/4 of the young girls 11, 12, 13 years old are raped or molested on the journey. Some die on the journey. Yet people want to welcome them with open arms and entice more to take the journey.

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10365953_792005337496685_1392665060964417376_n.png

Oh, the irony.

Well done, folks. You hurled insults at a bus full of hungry tired mothers and children.

Judging from her spelling she wasn't a top student. However, she is not alone in thinking people should use the legal path for immigration. I work with a number of people who immigrated to the US legally. Maybe the path needs work but it is there. At least the folks in the photo in this article are better at spelling.

We don't need any more immigrants: collapse of assimilation theory

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Judging from her spelling she wasn't a top student. However, she is not alone in thinking people should use the legal path for immigration. I work with a number of people who immigrated to the US legally. Maybe the path needs work but it is there. At least the folks in the photo in this article are better at spelling.

Az, the path is different depending on where you're from and when you got here. Central Americans used to receive TPS (temporary protected status) because of the massive unrest in those countries, including a 36-year civil war in Guatemala. They no longer receive this. The visa lottery does not apply to places with massive amounts of immigration such as Mexico. To get here from Mexico or Central America, you either have to be a student, extremely talented, or extremely wealthy (and if you have the $$ you aren't likely coming for economic reasons). There are something like 2,000 immigrant visas for unskilled laborers worldwide.

Most people would get in a line if there were a line to get in. My husband is from Mexico with a lot in his favor: being married to a US citizen (that's me), owning a house here, paying taxes, no criminal record, and there are still no guarantees on his being able to adjust his status from 'undocumented' to 'visa holder'. Once we tried to bring his niece here from Mexico to get her away from a bad situation at home. I was unable to find a visa that she qualified for.

It's easy to say they should come here legally, but if there is no way for them to do it and they are still driven by economic need, we both know they're going to come anyway.

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