Hundreds Of Child Immigrants Await Their Fates In N.C.

Sep 25, 2014

Undocumented child immigrants are being placed with friends and family members as they await immigration court proceedings.

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied child immigrants have turned themselves in at the U.S. Border this year.

Once they’ve been arrested, the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement looks for places to put these kids until their day in immigration court.

The O.R.R. reports 1,648 children were placed in North Carolina between January and August.

Dani Moore of the non-profit N.C. Justice Center said most of these kids already have people to take care of them while they prepare for their day in court.

“Children being placed in North Carolina are overwhelmingly being placed with family members or people that they know well," Moore said. "It's not really a question of people coming into the foster system, being dumped into communities in buses.”

Several counties, including Brunswick and Surry, have passed resolutions asking the federal government not to place child immigrants there.

Gary Skinner is the Executive director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Raleigh. He said much of the opposition to placing children comes from people who don't understand the process.

Skinner said the placement is only temporary. Once the children go before a judge, they'll be able to defend their case for being registered or given refugee status.

“There are multiple legal avenues these children have that they could possibly pursue to not be deported,” said Skinner.

Catholic Charities in Raleigh helps connect children with legal aid or special-needs resources. The group says it is currently helping about 48 children.

The Justice Center is advocating for the children to be quickly enrolled in school in the meantime.