There is a rise in the United States of unaccompanied migrant children along its southern borders. Many feel concerned for the treatment and process these children go through, when entering the United States. There are court cases and several laws on a guide to how the United States treats and protects the children during their time in the U.S., while their cases are being under consideration. There is a sparked controversy on the detention of migrant children in the United States. Immigration authorities have encountered almost 150,000 minors that were unaccompanied near or at the borders of Mexico in the United States in the fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021). Most of the unaccompanied minors in the United States care, are fifteen years old or older, making up 76 percent of the minors accounted for. Some unaccompanied minors even being infants or toddlers.
Mainly focusing on children that came into the U.S., we can visually see the data that was collected in 2019. Only 9% of migrants seen at the border were unaccompanied children. Most migrants come from Mexico, 67.6% were born in that country. Most undocumented people have no children, 33% have a citizen child under 18 and 8% have a non-citizen child. Many children are in some form of education with some not even being enrolled in school, in every age group. Many children also are “not well” in English according to the date shown below.
Strong poverty and violence are some of the main causes for people abandoning their countries to come to the United States. Many people’s situations worsened by the COIV-19 pandemic resulting in a rise of migrants crossing the borders into the United States. Horrible hurricanes have pushed Central Americas young to make the journey, with Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans making up two-thirds and the rest being from Mexico. Mexico’s rates have to do with the violence and issues with the cartel. Many children hope to find their families already in the United States and others are simply alone.
Armando Saldivas, a Brownsville paramedic, often encounters migrants that have just crossed the border from Mexico into the United States during peak seasons, being the highest in the summer months. In his nine year career, he has encountered about two minors, one being that he helped assist the birth of. When being asked what the protocol is when it comes to migrants Saldivas said, “We are called out by border patrol, we assess and treat the patients as necessary. If border patrol is not on scene we have to notify border patrol and wait for them to arrive to begin transport.” The paramedics are usually called out because of injury, dehydration and other complications. When asked if migrants were treated differently, Saldivas replied,”No, everybody is treated the same, Doesn’t matter if you are illegal or not.”
An employee of CHS in Los Frenos, Texas, Kimberly Maldonado, works closely with undocumented minors. CHS, also known as Comprehensive Health Services, currently housing 547 migrant children in their facility. According to the source they vary in ages and they house them separately according to gender, age, and special accommodations. Their maximum capacity aloud is 800 and they can’t and will never exceed that amount. When asked how they are cared for, Maldonado stated, “we provide them with everything they need, clothes, shoes, three meals a day, snakes through out the day, we give them normal education and provide them with all their medical needs.” They also provided them with all their COVID-19 vaccinations as well proper care if they test positive for the virus. The children are also not allowed to leave the premises at any time unless hospitalization is required, until their cases have been decided on.
Alexandra Bejarano, third grade bilingual teacher in Dale, Texas, works with children who are predominantly new to the United States. She strives to give them the education they deserve to have a successful future ahead of them. The children in her class are on different levels when it comes to English and it’s her job to ensure they move on to the next grade feeling confident. When asked about the environment in school for her class, Bejarano says she hears students and faculty refer to her students as, “the hispanic kids” or “the spanish speaking kids.” She goes on to say she tries to create a positive environment in the classroom for her students because it can be hard for them in the outside world. When asked if their are any hardship the children will face in the future, Bejarano said, “Even though they are getting the primary education, when they start applying to college if they are undocumented, it’s probably going to be harder for them to achieve that higher education.”