Since many residents of Riverside, California, are involved in the immigration community in some way, it may also be known to many that there has been a recent influx in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. According to CBS, there have been approximately 57,000 unaccompanied immigrant children to arrive in the U.S. since October 2013.
Due to this sudden and unexpected upswing in migrant child numbers, a great strain has been placed on the system used to care for and handle undocumented immigrants crossing the border. In particular, the housing system has taken a huge hit, allowing for the following problems to emerge:
- Migrant children being placed into shelters that are already full
- Long waits to get into a shelter or temporary housing system
- Shelter budgets being stretched beyond their means
- Lack of other resources that go along with shelters such as clothing
A lack of food and clothing in particular is making the situation worse than it otherwise would be, leading to some shelters becoming inadequate. Many facilities are simply not equipped to handle the large number, leaving children high and dry in the interim between their detainment and court hearings.
Many organizations and communities have stepped forward and are trying to do what they can to soften the blow for these migrant kids while they wait in legal limbo. For example, Crittenton Services and Foster Family Agency has offered foster families $854.00 a month if they can take in an unaccompanied minor refugee. This can rise up to over $6,000.00 a month if up to six children can be housed.
These children are generally thought to be escaping issues such as gang violence from their home countries, which may explain the increase in number. However, they are also being bumped to the front of the deportation line due to sheer volume, leading to concerns from activist groups who are still fighting for better shelter.