With the current surge of undocumented minors surrendering themselves to the Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) at the United States’ southern borders and their very real needs, there comes a host of misinformation. Pundits and other media personnel have made comments that not only do not promote understanding, but actively spread inaccuracies to the general public. For the sake of current and future clients who may be in the same situation, we feel it is important to debunk some of the myths currently making the rounds.
Myth #1. All of the recent influx of undocumented migrant children will be allowed to stay in the United States—which is why they have not been deported yet.
While some of the children will likely be allowed to remain—some will likely apply and qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile status, and others will likely apply for asylum—President Obama is actively trying to speed up the repatriation of many. The 2008 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act holds that any undocumented minor from a non-contiguous country (that is, any country that does not directly share a border with the United States, such as Guatemala or Honduras) is entitled to a hearing before being repatriated.
However, due to a significant backlog in our immigration system, it may not be until 2017 before all of those hearings can be conducted, according to NPR. Close to three years in the United States would allow many of these children to put down roots and do things like apply for a work permit—which is against the spirit of our immigration laws, if not the letter. President Obama is trying to push to have the law amended, hopefully allowing many of these children to be repatriated sooner.
Asylum seekers are entitled to stay in the country while their claim is being heard, and those who qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile status will eventually be able to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) status. The rest of the children will be repatriated; the only question is when.
Myth #2. Adults who carry disease are usually barred from entering the U.S. Some of these kids carry disease, and it is only because they are children that they remain in custody.
False on all counts.
It is true that potential immigrants to the United States must undergo a medical examination and be free from communicable diseases. Some of the diseases listed in the relevant statute include tuberculosis, gonorrhea and leprosy. However, unlike some conditions that render one inadmissible, it is possible to apply for a waiver on this score. Disease is not an absolute bar to anyone’s entry into the United States.
The current wave of undocumented immigrant children remain in custody because, as previously discussed, they are entitled to a hearing before repatriation. Undocumented immigrants do have due process rights, under law and case precedent. However, the insinuations that diseases like ebola and measles are rampant among the currently held population are patently false. Ebola has never been reported in Latin America, or indeed, anywhere except sub-Saharan Africa, and the measles and whooping cough vaccination rates in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are actually higher than those of the U.S. due to unfounded fears of autism.
Myth #3. Violence is not actually the reason these children are coming to the United States; it’s economics, as it usually is.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security states boldly that violence and poverty are the main reasons these children are fleeing their homelands. El Salvador has the second-highest murder rate in Latin America, and as of this writing there is actually a travel warning for Americans going there due to high rates of violence. Guatemala has the highest violent crime rate in the region, and Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, not only Latin America. The sources that claim there is little violence in these countries are biased. Guatemala’s First Lady obviously does not want to spread reports of widespread crime in her country, and the El Paso Intelligence Center has a history of promoting outdated intelligence as current fact.
Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney
If you are in this situation, or you have a loved one who is, there is hope. Contact the DuPage County immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC, and we will do our best to help. Call for a free consultation today.
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