Children have arrived in the United States without their parents for decades, but over the past two years the number of unaccompanied minors — primarily from Central America — has become so large, it has been characterized as a humanitarian crisis.
The number is unprecedented — more than 50,000 within the past eight months, and rising quickly.
President Barack Obama has asked Congress to provide almost $4 billion to set up new detention facilities, conduct more aerial surveillance and hire immigration judges and U.S. Border Patrol agents to respond to what he calls “an urgent humanitarian situation.”
The crisis is being felt across the United States, with Miami being one of 10 cities where children are being sent for immigration proceedings as border shelters in the Southwest fill up.
Most of these youths — from toddlers to teens — are largely coming from three countries: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the Centeral American nation with the highest murder rate in the world and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Hear the stories of some of these unaccompanied minors in a documentary, Children of the Americas: From Central America to South Florida.