Crisis at the Border
Over the last few months, the southern border of the USA has been flooded with unaccompanied minor children and young families from Central America. The minor children and families (primarily made up of mothers with young children) are being held at detention centers on the southern border, with the most notorious located in Artesia, New Mexico.
The children and families are being placed into removal (deportation) proceedings on the ‘fast track’, meaning that they are receiving expedited hearings before immigration judges across the country. Here in Ohio, the immigration court, located in Cleveland, is being inundated with unaccompanied minors and young families. Many local AILA attorneys have been graciously volunteering (myself included) their time to provide information to the families and children while at court and during monthly brief advice clinics on the weekend. Some of our Ohio AILA Chapter attorneys have even traveled to the detention center in Artesia, NM to help the children and families who are in custody.
For the children who have already been deported to their native countries, many of them are being met with a death sentence. According to a recent news article, at least five children who were deported to Honduras have been killed since February. (for the full article, please see: http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2014/08/19/3472301/five-children-killed-after-deportation-honduras/) .
San Pedro Sula, Honduras is widely recognized as the ‘murder capital of the world’ and sees about 187 murders per 100,000 residents. San Pedro Sula, as well as the rest of the country, is plagued by violence, corruption and poverty. Extremely powerful gangs, such as the M-18 and MS-13, control almost every aspect of daily life in Honduras. The children are having to choose between attempting the journey to cross into the USA or remaining in a country revenged by an internal war. And, the children are choosing to risk everything to come to the USA. If you think about it, would you do anything differently? As that popular primetime ABC tv show says, “What would you do?”
I will provide updates if there are any new developments in the situation, so check back soon!