Increase in Number of Children Arriving in U.S. Without Parents
The number of children fleeing poverty in other countries and entering the U.S. without parents is on the rise. When caught, they are arrested and detained. Sometimes they are sent back, sometimes they are released into the custody of relatives, foster homes or friends.
Children must not be treated as criminals.
Children entering illegally without parents "are usually fleeing something," often don't have relatives here and, in many cases, have endured trauma such as rape and being held for ransom, said Tricia Swartz, director of the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children in Washington, D.C.
Across-the-board deportations "would be literally sacrificing children's lives," she said. "Some of them are facing potential execution by gangs."
As for numbers,
Today, about 15.3 percent of migrants seeking asylum protection in the United States are under 18, up from 14.8 percent in 2004, federal records show.
The Department of Justice processes these kids in federal immigration courts. An example of the absurdity:
In Denver's court, a box of toys sits in the lobby. A recent memo encouraged judges to use booster chairs and child-friendly questioning at hearings.
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