U.S. Border Crisis!
Is information flowing to Schools about the level of functioning of Unaccompanied Minors?
Earlier Story: Displaced Students due to US border Crisis
According to many accounts the U.S. Border Crisis may top 90,000 unaccompanied minors by years end and could continue to increase next year. It is imperative for school districts to act quickly to manage the flow of unaccompanied and/or undocumented minors into their districts.
According to one state official, “Just connect all the dots and you know that sooner or later we are going to encounter a very complex situation, one that we were not prepared to grapple with.” DHS has disclosed at various congressional briefings that 80 percent of the “unaccompanied minors” are teenagers between 14 and 17 years old, 80 percent are male, and somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of the girls were raped, sexually assaulted or victimized as they made their way to the U.S. Also disclosed by DHS was that about 57,000 unaccompanied minors and of those 57,00, many are either gang members or prime candidates for recruitment by the notorious Central American gang MS-13.
Districts have an ever increasing challenge to manage those students;
- whom districts may not even know they are getting and
- having no information about the students
- educational abilities,
- mental health,
- physical health,
- their past –
- violent history,
- criminal history,
- gang history
- not even the most basic information – “their age“.
Little or No Information: According to reports, many states have little or no information about undocumented minors being placed in their communities and schools. Here are a few cases;
- GEORGETOWN, Del; The Indian River School District Board members said they were frustrated that they have not been informed on how many unaccompanied minors may be entering their school district in 3 weeks. But federal officials have not disclosed the location or identities of these children, making it more difficult for state officials to coordinate services like education, health care and mental health care. One state official said the way he learned about undocumented minors being placed in their state was through a news journal and not through the federal agency.
- HOUSTON, Tex; Houston Independent School District was unaware of the Federal Government’s interest in sheltering unaccompanied minors in a closed down school (Terrell Middle School) within their district, not to mention information about those 1000 proposed students that would be attending the Houston ISD schools.
- INDIANA; One official said, “last week, we learned from media reports that more than two hundred unaccompanied children had been previously placed by the federal government with sponsors in our state”
- UTAH; Another official states, “we found out about it officially on Monday: July 28, 2014 about the undocumented minors previously placed in our state and nothing else. The official went on to say, the email contained no details about the undocumented minors or the people who are sponsoring them. Health and Human Services provided no details about the children’s physical health or their educational attainment. They asked, “Where did these undocumented minors go? Are they all going to show up at one elementary school? Are they spread across a county or the state?”
Basic Documentation Incorrect: As shown above there is a lack of information about the where undocumented minors will be placed and the numbers of undocumented minors that communities and schools should prepare for. Also lacking is any documentation or historical information about these undocumented minors.
- Basic Information on Age: Some school districts have even struggled with the stated age of these students who the districts believed to be adults, yet the undocumented minors claimed to be juveniles under 17 years old.
Information, documentation and images obtained on two cases from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show two unaccompanied minors that appear to challenge the notion that the age information listed for these so called “children” on their paperwork is accurate.
- Isai, shown to the right, was released from an HHS shelter to a person identified as a “family friend,” living in Lynn County Texas (close to Lubbock, Tx) according to his “Verification of Release Form” from HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. According to the information provided on the form, HHS approved Isai’s release less than a month before the date of his 18th birthday.
- Candelaria, shown to the right , was released from a shelter in El Paso, Texas, to her sister Amelia who lives in Lynn County, according to her Verification of Release Form. Candelaria’s record also claims she was 17 years old at the time of her release.
These two unaccompanied minors have been currently enrolled in the ninth grade and are expected to arrive in class this fall, according to officials. When potential age discrepancies arise, city officials visit the residences of the “minors” to attempt to verify the age of the individuals in question. On one occasion a relative at one such residence identified an immigrant “child” as between the ages of 30 and 35, not below the age of 18 – as documented.
The school system has turned away a handful of documented unaccompanied minors who appeared too old, but officials remain suspicious of a number of other cases.
These unaccompanied minors will need a lot of services which include dealing with social and emotional needs of these kids who have suffered abuse or been targets of human trafficking. A Psychologist reported that the psychological damage done to the unaccompanied minors trying to enter the U.S. is tremendous, with untold consequences which will unfold for years to come.
Some officials are reporting that it is not uncommon for the boys and girls coming from Central America to get raped or otherwise sexually assaulted as they journey through Mexico to the US. It is reported that parents will put their daughters on birth control pills since it is common knowledge they will be sexually assaulted. One reported, “We will find areas that they call the ‘rape trees’ where you find bras, underwear and morning-after pills scattered all over the landings. That’s where these criminals take these young girls and do what they want with them. These people believe it’s part of the journey, part of the price the migrants have to pay.”
A border officer at a detention center which held the unaccompanied minors stated, “Sometimes you come upon a group of young women, maybe 14 or 15 years old, and they’re just crying uncontrollably,” he said. “You sit them down and you try to talk to them the best that you can. You get some of the female agents to come in and talk to them. But then you load them up and transport them to the station, and unfortunately our stations are not designed for issues like this. We’re not designed to hold you for counseling sessions.”
Gang involved: Learn about Keys’ Webinar on MS-13
According to DHS, there are 50,000 members of MS-13 in the world, some 10,000 are known to be operating now in the United States. According to an official, “If there are already 10,000 members of MS-13 here, with established turf and a system for this violent, criminal, international enterprise, think of the new potential recruits MS-13 have, including those who were raped and victimized in the process of getting here and crossing the border illegally,”
We would view many of these juveniles in the eyes of U.S. justice which have committed serious, even capital-offense felonies in their home countries as young. Although a 15 year-old gang member in Honduras is a lot more mature than your 15 year-old from the average school down here in Texas, yet many will be attending our schools in the fall.
One official shared what he had been told by a number of these juveniles. The official reported, “Sometimes they say, ‘I murdered two people,’ or ‘I’m a gang member”. The gang members are proud of their gang ties. And if that doesn’t tell you, then usually the tattoos on the face, the necks and the hands will give it away. But they’re not shy about telling you, ‘Yeah, I’m a gang member.’” Learn more about Keys’ Gang Identification & Intervention Training
As of June, there have been 57,000 unaccompanied minors accounted for in the U.S. Although, as of July 7 here are the numbers broken down by states:
Unaccompanied children crossing the southern U.S. border placed in nearby states
Delaware – 117 New Jersey – 1,504 Maryland – 2,205 Pennsylvania – 386 Virginia – 2,234 Washington, D.C. – 187 New York – 3,347 * Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as of July 7.
Are we prepared to handle these unaccompanied minors?
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