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Child deportation rates cause concern and controversy

Most Florida residents, no matter where they stand on the topic of immigration reform, would agree that deportation orders affect entire families. Issues concerning the deportation of parents and/or breadwinners are serious enough, but the deportation of minor children can have truly traumatic consequences for all those involved. With the number of undocumented immigrant children being deported on the rise, many immigration advocates and regulators alike are raising concerns over how to address the situation.

In 2014, it is estimated that over 50,000 unaccompanied children entered the United States from Central and South American countries. It is also believed that around 18,000 children have entered the country so far this year, and over 6,000 have already received deportation orders. So far in 2015, well over 1,300 undocumented children have been deported.

A large percentage of the children in question are seeking asylum in order to escape violence and exploitation in their native countries. Once in the U.S., the vast majority of unaccompanied child immigrants are released to qualifying sponsors or family members. However, such arrangements are not monitored by government agencies. Immigration and child advocates explain that a large number of children who immigrate to the U.S. have a difficult time assimilating into their new environment and/or living with their sponsors. Issues like language barriers, financial difficulties and past traumas can lead to a lack of resources and further exploitation.

Problems for child immigrants also compound because many fail to meet the necessary legal and court deadlines to seek asylum. In cases involving particularly young children, deportation to their native countries can also cause real and serious concerns for their safety and well-being.

Source: Timesunion.com, “Kids, families deal with uncertainty,” July 4, 2015

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