The non-profit research group, Child Trends, estimates that the United States will see an influx of more than 127,000 children entering the country from abroad this year, as undocumented immigrants or refugees.
In a report being released on Wednesday (Sep. 7) stipulates that about 90,000 children will come in without authorization or without their parents. And about 37,500 will be considered refugees. Those who arrive as refugees are eligible to receive social services, and can be granted citizenship after five years; yet those who touch American soil illegally can face detention and varying custodial arrangements.
Reportedly an estimated 1 million children not stopped by the border, are living in the U.S. illegally and often lack access to social services or legal representation. “While these children have the potential to make vital contributions to our communities, many have faced or will face trauma that, without intervention, can have lifelong negative impacts.” the report reads.
Child Trends states that even so, when children arrive in the U.S. they face a slew of problems. Like bullying, precarious conditions in detention centers and the risk of being released to sponsors who aren’t prepared to help. Yet the organization still says that all children should be provided with legal assistance for deportation hearings and the asylum process. “Children are coming in with very serious needs and have a precarious kind of existence while we sort out their future,” said David Murphey, who wrote the Child Trends report, according to Fox News Latino. “There’s a bewildering array of agencies and offices that these children and families pass through.”
The majority of the kids come in from places like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, in efforts to run away from gang violence and crime. However, the largest number of child refugees have migrated from Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Burma.
The U.S. State Department, which has expressed a commitment in protecting child refugees, received an advance copy of the report. The report also mentioned the Central American Minors program, which permits parents who are legal in the U.S. to request that their children in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to be considered as refugees— “a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children have undertaken to join their parents.”
With that said, Child Trends’ mission statement is to “to improve public policies and interventions that serve children and families.”