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Facts about the children at the border

Nearly 63,000 children have been caught crossing the United States border alone since October — double last year’s number. President Obama has called the surge an “urgent humanitarian situation,” and lawmakers have called for hearings on the crisis.

 Central America

Q. Where are the children going?
The majority of the children are in states where immigrants have traditionally settled, such as Texas, New York, California and Florida.

Q. Where are the children coming from?
More than three-quarters of the children are from poor and violent towns in three countries: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Q. What caused the sudden increase in unaccompanied minors?
Although specific issues in the child’s home country may vary poverty, violence and the opportunity of family reunification are often cited as the main reasons. Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate, while the Guatemalan children are from extremely poor rural areas.

Q. How old are they? Are they mostly boys or girls?
Many are boys between ages 15 and 17; although the proportion that are girls and younger children has increased in the last year.

Q. What happens to the children after they are caught?

The Department of Health and Human Services gives each child a health screening and immunizations, and assigns a short-term shelter. Immigration proceedings then begin. Children stay in a shelter an average of 35 days. Most are then placed with a family member or sponsor in the United States, where they remain during the immigration process, which can take up to two years.

 

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