Thousands of unaccompanied, undocumented minors are starting the school year across the U.S. after the Department of Education recently released a fact sheet stating that the children are entitled to an education regardless of their citizenship status. According to the Associated Press, children who are detained at the U.S. border with Mexico are almost never immediately returned to their home countries, allowing them to remain in the U.S., where they can receive an education.
As many as 90,000 children who arrive at the U.S. border from Central American countries will be caught by Border Patrol agents and then sent to detention centers where they will either be released to their families who live in the U.S. or receive an immigration hearing. The AP reported that in 2013, fewer than 2,000 children were sent back to their home countries. So far in 2014, more than 58,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“They almost never go home,” Gary Mead, former director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office that was responsible for finding undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. “It’s not a process that ultimately ends in easy resolutions or clear-cut resolutions.”
There are as many as 30,000 pending child immigrant cases in court systems across the U.S., according to the AP. However, the children who are in this country need an education, as these cases can take years before a final decision is made.
As the children wait, they’re often enrolled in nearby schools so they can learn English and basic education skills such as math, geography and history. Fox News Latino reported that hundreds of children who arrived in North Carolina after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from Central American countries recently started school. The children go into the classrooms with the feeling of starting a new life and are often happy to have the opportunity to do so.