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Unaccompanied immigrant children coming in record numbers

Just last week we talked about the influx of children crossing the border after making the long and dangerous journeys from Guatemala, Honduras and other parts of Central America. These children are fleeing violence fueled by the illegal drug trade and hope to reconnect with family members, and sometimes parents, living in the U.S. Though these children do not have the legal permission to be in the U.S., they are trying to get to safety.

And the numbers of unaccompanied children is growing. The number of children has doubled compared to the first 10 months of the 2013 fiscal year. It has gotten to be so extreme that President Barack Obama has declared it to be an "urgent humanitarian crisis." What many people in the immigration field are wondering, however, is whether these children might be eligible for asylum.

It remains to be seen if these children or the whole families that are fleeing violence in Central America are settling in South Carolina. As it is, there is a very real possibility that they could fall into the category of individuals being persecuted for their membership in a particular social group. It is well known that individuals who refuse to participate in these Central American drug gangs often are targeted, so it is possible that if these immigrants were to apply for asylum that they would be able to remain in the U.S.

And for those people who see reports of large numbers of unaccompanied children crossing the border and believe that illegal immigration is on the rise, the reality is that it is at its lowest since 1973.

Source: 10 WISTV, "Despite crush of children, illegal immigration low," July 22, 2014

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