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What future holds for the 365,000 migrant children who arrived in the United States?

A total of 365,000 migrant children unaccompanied by their parents have arrived in the United States since the start of the Biden era.

As a father of three children, it is difficult for me to understand the circumstances in which the parents of these minors made the difficult decision to send them or request them, knowing the dangerous journey from the southern countries through Mexican territory.

Under the current protocol, these minors are delivered to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), from where they are sent to shelters and, when possible, released to their parents if they are found in the United States, or an adult guardian, typically a family member.

In fiscal year 2022, approximately 72% of all referred children were over the age of 14 and 64% were boys. The countries of origin of the young people in this program were: Guatemala (47%); Honduras (29%); El Salvador (13%); and others (11%), according to official statistics.

Once children enter ORR care, they are contacted with their parents, guardians, or family members if known, and the process of finding a suitable sponsor begins, according to current DHS protocol.

Most sponsors are parents or close relatives living in the United States, and while ORR programs seek sponsors, children receive comprehensive, age-appropriate care and services at one of 296 facilities and programs in 27 states. funded by the ORR. the ORR.

Last December, there were 10,536 unaccompanied children in HHS care, and the average time an unaccompanied child remained in ORR care was 28 days. ORR says it is working to further reduce the length of care in ways that do not jeopardize the safety or well-being of children.

The issue of the situation of these migrant children is pertinent because one of the proposals promoted by Republicans to supposedly improve security on the border with Mexico is precisely to dismantle the current protections for migrant children.

Inspired by the controversial HR2 bill, Republicans are seeking to make it more difficult for unaccompanied immigrant children to claim special immigrant juvenile status, a legal path that young people can claim if they cannot be reunited with one or both parents. In short, they want to leave them helpless or deported.

A recent report raised concerns among migrant groups after it emerged that the White House had given in, as part of the negotiations to unblock aid to Israel Ukraine, to reinstate a variant of the controversial Title 42, which allowed the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people without an immigration hearing

It is repugnant that dismantling the protections of the law and due process for migrants, but especially for minors and, worse, for unaccompanied children, is being considered. It would be a betrayal of the founding principles and ideals of a nation of migrants.

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