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Number of young people seeking refuge in the U.S. on the rise

There are individuals of all ages who currently reside in the United States after entering without proper documentation. According to a report issued last fall by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one group in particular is on the rise. That group is immigrants under the age of 18 and some of them are making their way to South Florida.

There are likely many reasons why young individuals are coming to the U.S. In some cases parents are behind the move, particularly for young people who are from Central American countries where gang violence is an issue. In other cases parents are hoping that their children will be able to stay in the country once the current immigration system is reformed.

While these individuals would not qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, there may be other ways in which the minors could obtain a green card. For example, it might be possible if a juvenile court finds that the young immigrant has been neglected, abused or abandoned. Should any of these conditions be found a dependency order could be issued. Such an order would put them in a situation where they could qualify for a green-card. In these cases immigration attorneys would be of great assistance.

It is possible that the number of young people who seek a green card this way could grow. According to one estimate, up to 120 minors are entering the country each day. The more juveniles who enter the country without proper documentation, the greater the chance is that they will be apprehended by immigration authorities. According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the number of apprehensions was 24,000 in fiscal year 2013, up from 13,000 the previous year.

Source: The Miami Herald, “Number of unaccompanied minors arriving illegally in US is rising,” Alfonso Chardy, March 29, 2014 

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