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Unaccompanied Child Migrants Crisis, Explained

52,0000 unaccompanied children have illegally crossed the U.S’s Southern Border since last October. By year’s end, that number is expected to top 70,000, up 92 percent from last year..

The Obama administration is struggling to deal with the influx of immigrant children. So why doesn’t the government just send them across the border?

Because it’s against the law.

President Bush signed a law in 2008 that prevents the government from shipping kids from Central America back home right away. The process was intended to protect children from human trafficking, it’s put added stress on an overloaded immigration system, which wasn’t built to handle the mass wave of kids.

Mexican children can be turned back at the border, but the vast majority of kids entering now are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which don’t share a border with the United States and can’t be dumped in Mexico. The number of kids coming from Honduras alone now outnumber those from Mexico.

So what happens to them?

When Border Patrol catches kids from central America, it must screen them and hand them over to the Department of Health and Human Services. Most children are placed with a relative or in foster care while they await a deportation or asylum hearing.

But once they’ve been handed over to a relative or foster care, it’s not clear how many are actually showing up to their court date. Administration officials either don’t know, or have been unwilling to say.

The system’s messed up. But it will take an act of congress to change it. And we know how that goes.

Unaccompanied Child Migrants Crisis, Explained

52,0000 unaccompanied children have illegally crossed the U.S’s Southern Border since last October. By year’s end, that number is expected to top 70,000, up 92 percent from last year..

The Obama administration is struggling to deal with the influx of immigrant children. So why doesn’t the government just send them across the border?

Because it’s against the law.

President Bush signed a law in 2008 that prevents the government from shipping kids from Central America back home right away. The process was intended to protect children from human trafficking, it’s put added stress on an overloaded immigration system, which wasn’t built to handle the mass wave of kids.

Mexican children can be turned back at the border, but the vast majority of kids entering now are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which don’t share a border with the United States and can’t be dumped in Mexico. The number of kids coming from Honduras alone now outnumber those from Mexico.

So what happens to them?

When Border Patrol catches kids from central America, it must screen them and hand them over to the Department of Health and Human Services. Most children are placed with a relative or in foster care while they await a deportation or asylum hearing.

But once they’ve been handed over to a relative or foster care, it’s not clear how many are actually showing up to their court date. Administration officials either don’t know, or have been unwilling to say.

The system’s messed up. But it will take an act of congress to change it. And we know how that goes.

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