By Trevor Hill
June 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This year, the number of minors illegally crossing the border north through Mexico into the United States has increased to approximately 48,000 (92% higher than last year) and is projected to reach over 60,000 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. The vast majority of these children is not coming from Mexico, but in fact is fleeing Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
To deal with the influx, immigrant minors and adults alike are being shipped to warehouses and other facilities in order to hold them until they can be deported or granted a green card. About 700 minors are currently being held in a warehouse Nogales, Arizona, where living conditions have become deplorable due to overcrowding and lack of supplies. Fortunately, this is only a temporary housing for the children who will spend only enough time in Nogales to receive vaccinations and be checked medically before being sent to facilities in Ventura, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
This overcrowding is due to a lack of legal representatives willing and/or able to represent these children in Immigration Court. Because courts are not required to fund lawyers for the children, they must find a legal representative through advocacy groups or pro bono law programs.