Thousands of children from Central America have crossed the U.S. border.
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The growing number of unaccompanied immigrant children swarming our borders is a humanitarian crisis. More than 52,000 children have crossed the U.S. – Mexico border since October.
Tonda Curry, an East Texas immigration attorney, says the escalation of poverty and violence in Central American countries has forced the surge of children into the United States.
“Parents make the decision that their children would be better off in a different situation even if that means being without their parents,” she said.
Curry says the journey starts long before they even reach Mexico.
“Groups of people are getting together, combining their children, picking or hiring a few adults to lead the children basically through whatever countries they have to get through in Central America to come into the southern border of Mexico, travel through Mexico, and then come to a U.S. border,” she said.
The trek is not an easy one.
“It's a long hard journey. Much of it is through desert. These people are in such poverty that they can't feed themselves. They certainly don't have the means to gather up the food for a six week or eight week long trip,” she said.
Curry says the holes in our immigration system are to blame, but right now there's no easy way out.
“The biggest problem right now is that there is no way for these children, for a child who is born in any country in the world, to grow up with the dream of going to America legally if no one in his family has ever gone before,” she said.
Governor Rick Perry says the real humanitarian thing to do is not give them reasons to come here illegally in the first place.
“Reunite these families together and [don’t] continue policies that rip these families apart and send children by themselves and mothers and their baby away from their family. That's not humanitarian,” he said.
The thousands of children in temporary shelters across the country will be held until authorities find foster homes to care for them while their cases play out in immigration court.