Lawmakers call for refugee status for undocumented minor migrants
A group of Latino California lawmakers on Tuesday toured an emergency shelter for undocumented, unaccompanied minor migrants in Ventura County, and urged President Obama to consider refugee status for the children.
Members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, including Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Los Angeles) paid a visit to 600-bed shelter in Portland's Naval Base Ventura County, and said they were satisfied with the conditions they saw.
But, they stressed that more efforts are required for migrant children and families. The number of undocumented migrants is on the rise as more and more people are migrating due to violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Speaking to reporters, Sen. Lara said, "We call on the President to take action with compassion by considering refugee status for the children here in Ventura, and for other children who have escaped inhumane treatment back home."
Many parents are reportedly sending their children to the U. S. as they believe that their children would get "permit" to stay in the U. S. once they arrive unaccompanied.
While many lawmakers are asking the president to deport undocumented migrants, a 2008 law designed to defend trafficking victims is making it difficult as minors from Central American countries must have an immigration hearing.
Since October last year, more than 50,000 unaccompanied children and teens have crossed the U. S.-Mexico border. Many others have arrived accompanied by their parents or some other relatives. They cite violence, grinding poverty and little opportunity in their home countries as the reasons for their flight.
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