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Officials: Treat Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Fairly

A Houston child advocacy organization and local officials say it’s up to the local community to treat unaccompanied immigrant children with respect and care. Nearly 50,000 kids without their parents have been detained crossing the US border this year.

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Local officials and a child advocacy group are coming together to call for the fair treatment of the thousands
of children coming across the border this year without their parents.

Over the past eight months, nearly 50 thousand unaccompanied minors have come across the southern border of the
United States. Many of them have ended up here in Texas and are now in legal limbo, waiting to be either deported or reunited with relatives here.

“Here in Houston and here in the state of Texas, we need to figure out how we’re going to address this, to make sure these kids are safe, that they’re treated properly and that we’re doing the right thing by these
children,” said Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk.

Most of the children are from three different countries, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Many are
fleeing violence, abuse and threats of human trafficking.

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Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says he doesn’t care where they’ve come from.

“If folks make it Harris County, we’re going to protect them,” Garcia said. “We’re going to be responsive to them and we’re going to do everything we can to work with all authorities and all agencies to make sure that they’re well provided for.”

Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia represents parts of Houston’s East End, an area known for its immigrant population. She says protecting the children who show up here should be a community effort.

“There’s that old saying, it takes a village, and in this case it’s going to take everybody,” Garcia said.

Some of the children qualify for what’s known as a special immigrant juvenile status in Texas, but only one’s that have been neglected, abused or abandoned. 

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