Migrants Kids Face New Hardships at Border

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Photo by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

Migrant children, some of them U.S. citizens, reside in makeshift camps where they sleep on the floor inside tents, with no protection from heat or cold, and do not attend school. Smugglers tell parents or relatives that having a minor makes it easier to enter the United States, forcing children to suffer dangerous conditions on the journey across Mexico, Reuters reports.

A recent census by the local government in the border city of Tijuana found that 40 percent of the 769 people staying at the camp at El Chaparral were minors.

In other immigration news,  The Hill reports that the Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), a surveillance program launched as an alternative to traditional detention facilities, has increased the number of migrants being monitored from 86,000 at the beginning of 2021 to a record 136,026.

ISAP was launched in 2004 as a way to monitor immigrants in removal proceedings through a mix of home and field office visits, court tracking and electronic surveillance.

Immigrants spend an average of 615.1 days in the program, despite the recent influx in participants and a requirement that ICE review the terms of supervision for individuals every 90 days. The use of GPS tracking ankle monitors has brought particular scrutiny for the detrimental effects it has on the health of migrants.

Meanwhile, NPR reports that a “dedicated docket” of asylum hearings established by the Biden Administration nine months ago in cities such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, Miami and El Paso, Texas has made some headway with families that have just entered the country.

As of mid-September, it was handling nearly 16,000 cases, and more than 100 had received at least an initial decision. Migrants are being sent to the front of the line with the idea that others will be less likely to migrate knowing a backlog of more than 1.4 million cases will no longer buy them a few years in the United States even if they lose.

Critics say it rushes the complex work of building asylum cases, making it nearly impossible for migrants to have a fair shot, especially if they can’t secure an attorney in time.

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